Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 17224156
Int. J. Parasitol. 2007 Mar;37(3-4):273-83
Humans living in areas of high malaria transmission gradually acquire, during the early years of life, protective clinical immunity to Plasmodium falciparum, limiting serious complications of malaria to young children. However, pregnant women become more susceptible to severe P. falciparum infections during their first pregnancy. Pregnancy associated malaria is coupled with massive accumulation of parasitised erythrocytes and monocytes in the placental intervillous blood spaces, contributing to disease and death in pregnant women and developing infants. Indirect evidence suggests that prevention may be possible by vaccinating women of childbearing age before their first pregnancy. This review aims to introduce the reader to the implications of malaria infection during pregnancy and to analyse recent findings towards the identification and characterisation of parasite encoded erythrocyte surface proteins expressed in malaria-infected pregnant women that are likely targets of protective immunity and have potential for vaccine development.