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Chronic Malaria Revealed by a New Fluorescence Pattern on the Antinuclear Autoantibodies Test

  • Hommel, Benjamin
  • Charuel, Jean-Luc
  • Jaureguiberry, Stéphane
  • Arnaud, Laurent
  • Courtin, Regis
  • Kassab, Petra
  • Prendki, Virginie
  • Paris, Luc
  • Ghillani-Dalbin, Pascale
  • Thellier, Marc
  • Caumes, Eric
  • Amoura, Zahir
  • Mazier, Dominique
  • Musset, Lucile
  • Buffet, Pierre
  • Miyara, Makoto
Publication Date
Feb 13, 2014
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Background: Several clinical forms of malaria such as chronic carriage, gestational malaria or hyper-reactive malarial splenomegaly may follow a cryptic evolution with afebrile chronic fatigue sometimes accompanied by anemia and/or splenomegaly. Conventional parasitological tests are often negative or not performed, and severe complications may occur. Extensive explorations of these conditions often include the search for antinuclear autoantibodies (ANA). Methods: We analysed fluorescence patterns in the ANA test in patients with either chronic cryptic or acute symptomatic malaria, then conducted a one-year prospective study at a single hospital on all available sera drawn for ANA detections. We then identified autoantibodies differentially expressed in malaria patients and in controls using human protein microarray. Results: We uncovered and defined a new, malaria-related, nucleo-cytoplasmic ANA pattern displaying the specific association of a nuclear speckled pattern with diffuse cytoplasmic perinuclearly-enhanced fluorescence. In the one-year prospective analysis, 79% of sera displaying this new nucleo-cytoplasmic fluorescence were from patients with malaria. This specific pattern, not seen in other parasitic diseases, allowed a timely reorientation of the diagnosis toward malaria. To assess if the autoantibody immune response was due to autoreactivity or molecular mimicry we isolated 42 autoantigens, targets of malarial autoantibodies. BLAST analysis indicated that 23 of recognized autoantigens were homologous to plasmodial proteins suggesting autoimmune responses directly driven by the plasmodial infection. Conclusion: In patients with malaria in whom parasitological tests have not been performed recognition of this new, malaria-related fluorescence pattern on the ANA test is highly suggestive of the diagnosis and triggers immediate, easy confirmation and adapted therapy.

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