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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2004 April;95(2):153-8

language: English

Plasmodium falciparum parasitized red blood cells modulate the production of endothelin-1 by human endothelial cells

Basilico N., Mondani M., Parapini S., Speciale L., Ferrante P., Taramelli D.


Aim. Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) malaria is the most important parasitic infection of humans, responsible for about 2000000 deaths every year. Cytoadherence of P. falciparum parasitized erythrocytes (pRBC) to vascular endothelium contributes to the pathogenesis of severe malaria causing microcirculatory obstruction and subsequent tissue hypoxia. Several cytokines and vasoactive mediators are involved in this process. The aim of this paper was to investigate the production of endothelin-1 (ET-1), a potent vasoconstrictor agent, by endothelial cells from large vessels (human umbilical vein endothelial cells, HUVEC) or the microvasculature (human microvascular endothelial cells, HMEC-1), co-cultured with different strains of P. falciparum pRBC under normoxic or hypoxic conditions.
Methods. HMEC-1, immortalized by SV 40 large Tontigen, were maintained in MCDB 131 medium supplement ed with 10% fetal calf serum, 10 ng/ml of epidermal growth factor, 1 mg/ml of hydrocortisone, 2 mM glutamine, 100 U/ml of penicillen, 100 mg/ml of streptomycin and 20 mM Hepes buffer. The levels of ET-1 in the supernatants were measured by immunoenzymatic assay.
Results. The results indicated that IL1-b and hypoxia were able to induce ET-1 production by both HUVEC and HMEC-1. However, the co-incubation of HUVEC or HMEC-1 with pRBC induced a dose-dependent decrease of both constitutive and IL1- or hypoxia-induced ET-1 production. The inhibition was independent from the parasite strain used and from the origin of endothelial cells.
Conclusion. These results show that pRBC by modulating both constitutive and stimulated ET-1 release from endothelial cells can induce modifications of the vascular tone in different anatomical districts. This could be of relevance in the pathogenesis of severe malaria.

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