Parasitology

Research Article

New approaches to pathogenesis of malaria in pregnancy

S. J. ROGERSONa1 c1 and P. BOEUFa1

a1 Department of Medicine (RMH/WH), Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

SUMMARY

Malaria infection during pregnancy is associated with poor maternal and foetal outcomes including low birth weight. In malaria-endemic areas, low birth weight is primarily a consequence of foetal growth restriction. Little is known on the pathogenesis of foetal growth restriction and our understanding of the relationship between epidemiological observations and the pathogenesis or consequences of disease is incomplete. In this review, we describe these gaps in our knowledge and also try to identify goals for future research into malaria in pregnancy. Foetal growth restriction results from a complex four-dimensional interaction between the foetus, the mother and the malaria parasite over gestation, and research into its pathogenesis may be advanced by combining longitudinal studies with techniques and approaches new to the field of malaria in pregnancy. Such approaches would greatly increase our knowledge on the pathogenesis of this disease and may provide new avenues for intervention strategies.

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: A/Pr Stephen Rogerson, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Post Office Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville VIC 3050, Australia. Tel: +61 3 8344 3259. Fax: +61 3 9347 1863. E-mail: sroger@unimelb.edu.au

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