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The carriage of oxygen by the blood and the in vivo response of the brain were investigated in mice infected with a lethal strain of Plasmodium yoelii. All mice with parasitaemia exceeding 70% were severely anaemic (Hb 3.5 +/- 1.8 g/dl; mean +/- 1 SD), acidotic (blood pH 7.04 +/- 0.06) and hypoglycaemic (blood glucose 0.6 +/- 0.76 mumol/ml). The oxyhaemoglobin dissociation curve (ODC) of blood from heavily infected mice was shifted right as compared to controls, but the increase in p50 was less than expected from the accompanying acidosis. The reduced shift right was due to a decrease in the 2,3-DPG/Hb ratio in infected animals (0.72 +/- 0.12, n = 17 vs 1.10 +/- 0.09, n = 12 in controls). Despite the severity of terminal infection, the cerebral pH and the relative steady-state concentrations of PCr, ATP and Pi measured in vivo by nuclear magnetic resonance (31P NMR) were normal. Alterations in brain energy status and pH cannot account for cerebral signs or death in this proposed mouse model of cerebral malaria.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Parasitol

Publication Date





391 - 396


Adenosine Triphosphate, Animals, Blood Glucose, Brain, Energy Metabolism, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Lactates, Lactic Acid, Malaria, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Oxyhemoglobins, Phosphates, Phosphocreatine