Low birth weight in Papua New Guinea is a killer. Help us research what is causing low birth weight in PNG so that we can stop it.
Background: Plasmodium falciparum uses a repertoire of merozoite-stage proteins for invasion of erythrocytes. Antibodies against some of these proteins halt the replication cycle of the parasite by preventing erythrocyte invasion and are implicated as contributors to protective immunity against malaria. Methods: We assayed antibody reactivity against a panel of 9 recombinant antigens based on erythrocyte-binding antigen (EBA) and reticulocyte-like homolog (Rh) proteins in plasma from children with malaria and healthy adults residing in 3 endemic areas in Ghana using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Purified immunoglobulin (Ig)G from adult plasma samples was also tested for invasion inhibition against 7 different P falciparum culture lines, including clinical isolates. Results: Antibodies against the antigens increased in an age-dependent manner in children. Breadth of reactivity to the different antigens was strongly associated with in vitro parasite growth inhibitory activity of IgG purified from the adults. The strongest predictors of breadth of antibody reactivity were age and transmission intensity, and a combination of reactivities to Rh2, Rh4, and Rh5 correlated strongly with invasion inhibition. Conclusions: Growth inhibitory activity was significantly associated with breadth of antibody reactivity to merozoite antigens, encouraging the prospect of a multicomponent blood-stage vaccine.