Research ArticleMalaria

Dysregulation of angiopoietin-1 plays a mechanistic role in the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria

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Science Translational Medicine  28 Sep 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 358, pp. 358ra128
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf6812

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Bolstering the host to beat malaria

Cerebral malaria is a devastating disease associated with high death rates and brain injury despite the use of potent antimalarials. Understanding the role of the host response in determining the ability of the host to survive a severe malaria infection may enable development of host-based therapeutics to prevent infection-induced death. Higgins et al. now demonstrate how the loss of a key host vascular protective protein, angiopoietin-1, is associated with severe and fatal malaria in children and in a mouse model. Administering angiopoietin-1 to mice with cerebral malaria reinforced the blood-brain barrier and improved survival, even when initiated late in disease.