Background Immunoglobulin G (IgG)-specific responses against Plasmodium falciparum merozoite antigens such as the merozoite surface protein 3 (MSP3) and UBO5 are known to play critical roles in parasitaemia control and protection from symptomatic illness. However, when there is intense perennial malaria transmission coupled with concurrent infection with the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV), knowledge of IgG antibody response profiles is limited.
In this study we assessed the impact of dual HIV/malaria infections on IgG subclass responses to MSP3 (QβMSP3) and UBO5 (QβUB05) in individuals living in two areas of Cameroon differing in malaria transmission intensity.
Methods IgG and IgG subclass responses specific to either MSP3 or UBO5 were determined in plasma from study participant by ELISA. To improve reactivity with their respective antibodies the antigens were displayed upon the surface of the RNA coliphage Qβ.
Results We observed differences in antigen-specific IgG and IgG subclass responses which were dependent upon the antigen type, malaria transmission intensity, HIV infection, malaria infection and dual HIV/malaria infections. Individuals living in areas with high malaria transmission, had irrespective of HIV or malaria status significantly higher IgG responses to both antigens (p=0.0001 for QβMSP3, p=0.0001 for QβUB05) than their counterpart from areas with low transmission. When dual HIV/malaria infection is considered, significantly higher QβMSP3 specific IgG1 (p=0.0001) and IgG3 (p=0.04) responses in double-negative individuals was associated with protection against malaria in areas with low transmission. Superior QβUBO5 specific IgG1 responses (p=0.0001) in double-negative individuals were associated with protection in areas with high transmission in contrast to significantly higher IgG3 responses to QβUBO5 (p=0.0001) which were more relevant to protection in areas with low malaria transmission in the same population.
Conclusion Thus, understanding immune responses to QβUBO5 and QβMSP3 could facilitate the development of immunotherapeutic strategies suitable for areas differing in malaria transmission intensity.
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