Proteomic Studies on Human and Experimental Cerebral Malaria

  • Ehab Moussa

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

Cerebral malaria (CM) is a severe neurological complication of malaria infection that results from interrelated pathologies. Despite extensive research efforts, the mechanism of the disease is not completely understood. Clinical studies, postmortem analysis, and animal models have been the main research arenas in CM. In this thesis, shotgun proteomics approach was used to further understand the pathology of human and experimental CM. The mechanism by which CM turns fatal is yet to be identified. A clinical proteomics study was conducted on pooled plasma samples from children with reversible or fatal CM from the Gambia. The results show that depletion of coagulation factors and increased levels of circulating proteasomes are associated with fatal pediatric CM. This data suggests that the ongoing coagulation during CM might be a disseminated intravascular coagulation state that eventually causes depletion of the coagulation factors leading to petechial hemorrhages. In addition, the mechanism(s) by which blood transfusion benefits CM in children was investigated. To that end, the concentration and multimerization pattern of von-willebrand factor, and the concentration of haptoglobin in the plasma of children with CM who received blood transfusions were measured. In addition to clinical studies, experimental cerebral malaria (ECM) in mice has been long used as a model for the disease. A shotgun proteomics workflow was optimized to identify the proteomic signature of the brain tissue of mice with ECM.Because of the utmost importance of membrane proteins in the pathology of the disease, sample fractionation and filter aided sample preparation were used to recover them. The proteomic signature of the brains of mice infected with P. berghei ANKA that developed neurological syndrome, mice infected with P. berghei NK56 that developed severe malaria but without neurological signs, and non-infected mice, were compared to identify CM specific proteins. Among the differentially expressed proteins in mice that developed neurological signs, coagulation and acute-phase proteins were enriched. The data are in accordance with data from the clinical study. Taken together, the results support the role of coagulation and platelets adhesion in the pathogenesis of the disease.
Date of AwardJul 2012
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Science and Engineering
SupervisorArnab Pain (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Cerebral Malaria
  • Proteomics
  • Experiments Malaria
  • coagulation

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