Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 18005972
Int. J. Parasitol. 2008 May;38(6):655-72
Plasmodium gallinaceum typically causes sub-clinical disease with low mortality in its primary host, the Indian jungle fowl Gallus sonnerati. Domestic chickens of European origin, however, are highly susceptible to this avian malaria parasite. Here we describe the development of P. gallinaceum in young White Leghorn chicks with emphasis on the primary exoerythrocytic phase of the infection. Using various regimens for infection, we found that P. gallinaceum induced a transient primary exoerythrocytic infection followed by a fulminant lethal erythrocytic phase. Prerequisite for the appearance of secondary exoerythrocytic stages was the development of a certain level of parasitaemia. Once established, secondary exoerythrocytic stages could be propagated from bird to bird for several generations without causing fatalities. Infected brains contained large secondary exoerythrocytic stages in capillary endothelia, while in the liver primary and secondary erythrocytic stages developed primarily in Kupffer cells and remained smaller. At later stages, livers exhibited focal hepatocyte necrosis, Kupffer cell hyperplasia, stellate cell proliferation, inflammatory cell infiltration and granuloma formation. Because P. gallinaceum selectively infected Kupffer cells in the liver and caused a histopathology strikingly similar to mammalian species, this avian Plasmodium species represents an evolutionarily closely related model for studies on the hepatic phase of mammalian malaria.