I am maintaining Plasmodium falciparum cultures for past 6 months. For the blood culture, usually we lab members take turns and donate blood for the culture. I observed that the parasite's normal growth cycle were fast and more healthy in B+ blood, little slow in AB+ blood. But on the whole the culture was maintained good but I really observed fast stage transitions in B+.

Is this really possible? Does a specific blood group have an impact on Plasmodium growth? Did anyone notice the same issue?



It is a well documented observation that Plasmodium (vivax and knowlesi) infection is dependent on the Duffy blood groups [1].

Individuals lacking the Duffy antigens (Fya and Fyb) have lower susceptibility to malaria. Plasmodium expressed Duffy Binding Proteins facilitate in establishing the initial contact between the merozoite and the RBCs.

However, Plasmodium has evolved to break this dependence on Duffy antigens [2, 3].

For, the ABO blood group system, it has been observed that the blood group-O is associated with lower severity of P.falciparum malaria in adults [4, 5], which possibly happens because of reduced rosetting (binding of infected RBCs with uninfected RBCs) [5].


  1. Dean L. Blood Groups and Red Cell Antigens [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Center for Biotechnology Information (US); 2005. Chapter 9, The Duffy blood group. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2271/

  2. Ménard, Didier, et al. "Plasmodium vivax clinical malaria is commonly observed in Duffy-negative Malagasy people." Proc Nat Acad Sci, USA 107.13 (2010): 5967-5971.

  3. Mendes, Cristina, et al. "Duffy negative antigen is no longer a barrier to Plasmodium vivax–molecular evidences from the African West Coast (Angola and Equatorial Guinea)." PLoS Negl Trop Dis 5.6 (2011): e1192.

  4. Cserti, Christine M., and Walter H. Dzik. "The ABO blood group system and Plasmodium falciparum malaria." Blood 110.7 (2007): 2250-2258.

  5. Rowe, J. Alexandra, et al. "Blood group O protects against severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria through the mechanism of reduced rosetting." Proc Nat Acad Sci, USA 104.44 (2007): 17471-17476.


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