Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Severe malaria is a life-threatening condition that is associated with a high mortality. Severe Plasmodium falciparum infections are mediated primarily by high parasitemia and binding of infected red blood cells (iRBCs) to the blood vessel endothelial layer, a process known as sequestration. Here, we show that including the 5-amino-2-methoxybenzenesulfonate (AMBS) chemical modification in soluble biopolymers (polyglutamic acid and heparin) and poly(acrylic acid)-exposing nanoparticles serves as a universal tool to introduce a potent parasite invasion inhibitory function in these materials. Importantly, the modification did not add or eliminated (for heparin) undesired anticoagulation activity. The materials protected RBCs from invasion by various parasite strains, employing both major entry pathways. Two further P. falciparum strains, which either expose ligands for chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) or intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) on iRBCs, were tested in antisequestration assays due to their relevance in placental and cerebral malaria, respectively. Antisequestration activity was found to be more efficacious with nanoparticles vs gold-standard soluble biopolymers (CSA and heparin) against both strains, when tested on receptor-coated dishes. The nanoparticles also efficiently inhibited and reversed the sequestration of iRBCs on endothelial cells. First, the materials described herein have the potential to reduce the parasite burden by acting at the key multiplication stage of reinvasion. Second, the antisequestration ability could help remove iRBCs from the blood vessel endothelium, which could otherwise cause vessel obstruction, which in turn can lead to multiple organ failure in severe malaria infections. This approach represents a further step toward creation of adjunctive therapies for this devastating condition to reduce morbidity and mortality.

Original publication




Journal article


ACS Infect Dis

Publication Date



Plasmodium, biomaterial, inhibition, nanoparticle, sequestration, severe malaria