by Brittany A. Riggle, Louis H. Miller, Susan K. Pierce
F1000Research 2017, 6; Last updated: 22 November 2017
Any of the five human Plasmodium species can cause disease, but, for unknown reasons, in approximately 2 million cases each year P. falciparum (Pf) progresses to severe disease, ultimately resulting in half a million deaths. The majority of these deaths are in children under the age of five. Currently, there is no way to predict which child will progress to severe disease and there are no adjunctive therapies to halt the symptoms after onset. In this brief review, the authors first describe key features of Pf infections in Cerebral Malaria (CM); chief among these is the parasite’s ability to sequester in tissue vasculature. They then turn to a description of our current understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying CM and finally describe advances in identifying therapeutic targets for CM using mouse models.