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Association of ADAMTS13 polymorphism with cerebral malaria

Sirima Kraisin12, Izumi Naka1, Jintana Patarapotikul3, Duangdao Nantakomol2, Pornlada Nuchnoi4, Hathairad Hananantachai3, Naoyuki Tsuchiya1 and Jun Ohashi1*

Author Affiliations

1 Doctoral Program in Biomedical Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

2 Master of Science Program in Clinical Hematology Sciences, Department of Clinical Microscopy, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

3 Department of Microimmunology and Clinical Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

4 Department of Clinical Microscopy, Faculty of Medical Technology, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

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Malaria Journal 2011, 10:366  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-10-366

Published: 14 December 2011



Cerebral malaria is one of the most severe manifestations of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The sequestration of parasitized red blood cells (PRBCs) to brain microvascular endothelium has been shown to contribute to the pathophysiology of cerebral malaria. Recent studies reported increased levels of von Willebrand factor (VWF) and reduced activity of VWF-cleaving protease, ADAMTS13 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with a thrombospondin type 1 motif, member 13), in patients with cerebral malaria.


Association of six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the ADAMTS13 gene with cerebral malaria was examined in 708 Thai patients with P. falciparum malaria.


Among six SNPs, the derived allele of a SNP located in intron 28, rs4962153-A, was significantly associated with protection against cerebral malaria when 115 cerebral malaria patients were compared with 367 mild malaria patients (Fisher's exact P-value = 0.0057; OR = 0.27; 95% CI = 0.096-0.76). Significant association was also detected between 115 cerebral malaria and 593 non-cerebral malaria (226 non-cerebral severe malaria and 367 mild malaria) patients (Fisher's exact P-value = 0.012; OR = 0.30; 95% CI = 0.11-0.83).


Excessive adhesion of PRBCs to the platelet-decorated ultra-large VWF (ULVWF) appears to enhance the sequestration of PRBCs to cerebral microvascular endothelium. The genetic association observed in the present study implies that the regulation of platelet-decorated ULVWF strings by ADAMTS13 may play a role in the development of cerebral malaria.