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Open Access Opinion

Interferon-γ, a valuable surrogate marker of Plasmodium falciparum pre-erythrocytic stages protective immunity

Blanca-Liliana Perlaza1, Jean-Pierre Sauzet1, Karima Brahimi1, Lbachir BenMohamed2 and Pierre Druilhe1*

Author Affiliations

1 Malaria Vaccine Development Laboratory, Pasteur Institute, 25-28 rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris, Cedex 15, France

2 Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, University of California Irvine, College of Medicine, Irvine, CA 92697-4375, USA

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Malaria Journal 2011, 10:27  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-10-27

Published: 8 February 2011

Abstract

Immunity against the pre-erythrocytic stages of malaria is the most promising, as it is strong and fully sterilizing. Yet, the underlying immune effectors against the human Plasmodium falciparum pre-erythrocytic stages remain surprisingly poorly known and have been little explored, which in turn prevents any rational vaccine progress. Evidence that has been gathered in vitro and in vivo, in higher primates and in humans, is reviewed here, emphasizing the significant role of IFN-γ, either as a critical immune mediator or at least as a valuable surrogate marker of protection. One may hope that these results will trigger investigations in volunteers immunized either by optimally irradiated or over-irradiated sporozoites, to quickly delineate better surrogates of protection, which are essential for the development of a successful malaria vaccine.