Overwhelming activation of T cells in acute malaria is associated with severe outcomes. Thus, counter-regulation by anti-inflammatory mechanisms is indispensable for an optimal resolution of disease. Using Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA) infection of C57BL/6 mice, we performed a comprehensive analysis of co-inhibitory molecules expressed on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells using an unbiased cluster analysis approach. We identified similar T cell clusters co-expressing several co-inhibitory molecules like programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and lymphocyte activation gene 3 (LAG-3) in the CD4+ and the CD8+ T cell compartment.
Malaria is an old scourge of humankind and has a large negative impact on the economic development of affected communities. Recent success in malaria control and reduction of mortality seems to have stalled emphasizing that our current intervention tools need to be complemented by malaria vaccines.
These results suggest the presence of memory T cells in humans against these antigens to generate faster and more specific immune responses to minimize the P. vivax infection.