Published in Volume
88, Issue 6
(December 1991)J Clin Invest.
1991, The American Society for
Xanthine oxidase inhibits growth of Plasmodium falciparum in human erythrocytes in vitro.
Department of Chemical Pathology, University of Cape Town Medical School, Observatory, South Africa.
Published December 1991
Malaria parasites, unable to synthesize purine de novo, use host-derived hypoxanthine preferentially as purine source. In a previous study (1990. J. Biol. Chem. 265:6562-6568), we noted that xanthine oxidase rapidly and completely depleted hypoxanthine in human erythrocytes, not by crossing the erythrocyte membrane, but rather by creating a concentration gradient which facilitated hypoxanthine efflux. We therefore investigated the ability of xanthine oxidase to inhibit growth of FCR-3, a chloroquine-resistant strain of Plasmodium falciparum in human erythrocytes in vitro. Parasites were cultured in human group O+ erythrocytes in medium supplemented, as required, with xanthine oxidase or chloroquine. Parasite viability was assessed by uptake of radiolabeled glycine and adenosine triphosphate-derived purine into protein and nucleic acid, respectively, by nucleic acid accumulation, by L-lactate production, and by microscopic appearance. On average, a 90% inhibition of growth was observed after 72 h of incubation in 20 mU/ml xanthine oxidase. Inhibition was notably greater than that exerted by 10(-7) M chloroquine (less than 10%) over a comparable period. The IC50 for xanthine oxidase was estimated at 0.2 mU/ml, compared to 1.5 x 10(-7) M for chloroquine. Inhibition was completely reversed by excess hypoxanthine, but was unaffected by oxygen radical scavengers, including superoxide dismutase and catalase. The data confirms that a supply of host-derived hypoxanthine is critical for nucleic acid synthesis in P. falciparum, and that depletion of erythrocyte hypoxanthine pools of chloroquine-resistant malaria infection in humans. of chloroquine-resistant malaria infection in humans.
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