CD47 regulates the phagocytic clearance and replication of the Plasmodium yoelii malaria parasite.
Several Plasmodium species exhibit a strong age-based preference for the red blood cells (RBC) they infect, which in turn is a major determinant of disease severity and pathogenesis. The molecular basis underlying this age constraint on the use of RBC and its influence on parasite burden is poorly understood. CD47 is a marker of self on most cells, including RBC, which, in conjunction with signal regulatory protein alpha (expressed on macrophages), prevents the clearance of cells by the immune system. In this report, we have investigated the role of CD47 on the growth and survival of nonlethal Plasmodium yoelii 17XNL (PyNL) malaria in C57BL/6 mice. By using a quantitative biotin-labeling procedure and a GFP-expressing parasite, we demonstrate that PyNL parasites preferentially infect high levels of CD47 (CD47(hi))-expressing young RBC. Importantly, C57BL/6 CD47(-/-) mice were highly resistant to PyNL infection and developed a 9.3-fold lower peak parasitemia than their wild-type (WT) counterparts. The enhanced resistance to malaria observed in CD47(-/-) mice was associated with a higher percentage of splenic F4/80(+) cells, and these cells had a higher percentage of phagocytized parasitized RBC than infected WT mice during the acute phase of infection, when parasitemia was rapidly rising. Furthermore, injection of CD47-neutralizing antibody caused a significant reduction in parasite burden in WT C57BL/6 mice. Together, these results strongly suggest that CD47(hi) young RBC may provide a shield to the malaria parasite from clearance by the phagocytic cells, which may be an immune escape mechanism used by Plasmodium parasites that preferentially infect young RBC.
Banerjee, R; Khandelwal, S; Kozakai, Y; Sahu, B; Kumar, S
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