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Ultrastructure of the lung in a murine model of malaria-associated acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome


BackgroundThe mechanisms through which infection with Plasmodium spp. result in lung disease are largely unknown. Recently a number of mouse models have been developed to research malaria-associated lung injury but no detailed ultrastructure studies of the disease in its terminal stages in a murine model have yet been published. The goal was to perform an ultrastructural analysis of the lungs of mice that died with malaria-associated acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome to better determine the relevancy of the murine models and investigate the mechanism of disease. MethodsDBA/2 mice were infected with Plasmodium berghei strain ANKA. Mice had their lungs removed immediately after death, processed using standard methods and viewed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). ResultsInfected red blood cell:endothelium contact, swollen endothelium with distended cytoplasmic extensions and thickening of endothelium basement membrane were observed. Septa were thick and filled with congested capillaries and leukocytes and the alveolar spaces contained blood cells, oedema and cell debris. ConclusionResults show that the lung ultrastructure of P. berghei ANKA-infected mice has similar features to what has been described in post-mortem TEM studies of lungs from individuals infected with Plasmodium falciparum. These data support the use of murine models to study malaria-associated acute lung injury. (AU)

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