The emerging role of pattern recognition receptors in the pathogenesis of Malaria

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Despite a global effort to develop an effective vaccine, malaria is still a significant health problem. Much of the pathology of malaria is immune mediated. This suggests that host immune responses have to be finely regulated. The innate immune system initiates and sets the threshold of the acquired immune response and determines the outcome of the disease. Yet, our knowledge of the regulation of innate immune responses during malaria is limited. Theoretically, inadequate activation of the innate immune system could result in unrestrained parasite growth. Conversely, hyperactivation of the innate immune system, is likely to cause excessive production of proinflammatory cytokines and severe pathology. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have emerged as essential receptors which detect signature molecules and shape the complex host response during malaria infection. This review will highlight the mechanisms by which Plasmodium components are recognized by innate immune receptors with particular emphasis on TLRs. A thorough understanding of the complex roles of TLRs in malaria may allow the delineation of pathological versus protective host responses and enhance the efficacy of anti-malarial treatments and vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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