In vitro growth-inhibitory activity and malaria risk in a cohort study in Mali

Peter D. Crompton, Kazutoyo Miura, Boubacar Traore, Kassoum Kayentao, Aissata Ongoiba, Greta Weiss, Safiatou Doumbo, Didier Doumtabe, Younoussou Kone, Chiung Yu Huang, Ogobara K. Doumbo, Louis H. Miller, Carole A. Long, Susan K. Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Immunity to the asexual blood stage of Plasmodium falciparum is complex and likely involves several effector mechanisms. Antibodies are thought to play a critical role in malaria immunity, and a corresponding in vitro correlate of antibody-mediated immunity has long been sought to facilitate malaria vaccine development. The growth inhibition assay (GIA) measures the capacity of antibodies to limit red blood cell (RBC) invasion and/or growth of P. falciparum in vitro. In humans, naturally acquired and vaccine-induced P. falciparum-specific antibodies have growth-inhibitory activity, but it is unclear if growth-inhibitory activity correlates with protection from clinical disease. In a longitudinal study in Mali, purified IgGs, obtained from plasmas collected before the malaria season from 220 individuals aged 2 to 10 and 18 to 25 years, were assayed for growth-inhibitory activity. Malaria episodes were recorded by passive surveillance over the subsequent 6-month malaria season. Logistic regression showed that greater age (odds ratio [OR], 0.78; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.63 to 0.95; P = 0.02) and growth-inhibitory activity (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.85; P = 0.01) were significantly associated with decreased malaria risk in children. A growth-inhibitory activity level of 40% was determined to be the optimal cutoff for discriminating malaria-immune and susceptible individuals in this cohort, with a sensitivity of 97.0%, but a low specificity of 24.3%, which limited the assay's ability to accurately predict protective immunity and to serve as an in vitro correlate of antibody-mediated immunity. These data suggest that antibodies which block merozoite invasion of RBC and/or inhibit the intra-RBC growth of the parasite contribute to but are not sufficient for the acquisition of malaria immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-745
Number of pages9
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'In vitro growth-inhibitory activity and malaria risk in a cohort study in Mali'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this