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Chapter 11 : Of Mice and Men
Human malaria does not lend itself easily to basic research in immunology, so a convenient laboratory model for in vivo studies of mammalian malaria was desirable. The need was satisfied with the description of a rodent malaria parasite, P. berghei, by a Belgian physician (Ignace Vincke) and entomologist. One of Jerome Vanderberg's most valuable findings was his observation that upon in vitro exposure to serum from immunized mice, an antibody-mediated precipitation occurred around sporozoites and the precipitate projected from one end. The injection of irradiated sporozoites by mosquitoes should thus be viewed as an attempt to test the feasibility of vaccination in humans, which if successful could lead to trials using more practical techniques. The results showed that mice so immunized were completely protected from sporozoite challenges that caused blood infections and death in 100% of nonimmunized control mice. Using the mouse malaria model, P. yoelii, it was shown that after mosquito inoculation the irradiated sporozoites are deposited in the skin and then move into the regional lymph nodes, where, after dendritic cell presentation, T cells were primed to recognize the parasite.