In this review, we discuss naturally acquired antibodies in malaria, and the potentially harmful or beneficial effects of them
Antibodies are central to acquired immunity against malaria. Plasmodium falciparum elicits antibody responses against many of its protein components, but there is also formation of antibodies against different parts of the red blood cells, in which the parasites spend most of their time. In the absence of a decisive intervention such as a vaccine, people living in malaria endemic regions largely depend on naturally acquired antibodies for protection. However, these antibodies do not confer sterile immunity and the mechanisms of action are still unclear. Most studies have focused on the inhibitory effect of antibodies, but here, we review both the beneficial as well as the potentially harmful roles of naturally acquired antibodies, as well as autoantibodies formed in malaria. We discuss different studies that have sought to understand acquired antibody responses against P. falciparum antigens, and potential problems when different antibodies are combined, such as in naturally acquired immunity. We review antibodies at dermis and the liver stage, against merozoites, gametocytes and infected red blood cells, but also autoantibodies against red blood cells.
This entry is adapted from 10.3390/pathogens10070832