Evaluation of a novel magneto-optical method for the detection of malaria parasites

Orbán, Ágnes, Butykai, Ádám, Molnár, András, Pröhle, Zsófia, Fülöp, Gergö, Zelles, Tivadar, Forsyth, Wasan, Hill, Danika, Müller, Ivo, Schofield, Louis, Rebelo, Maria, Hänscheid, Thomas, Karl, Stephan, and Kezsmárki, István (2014) Evaluation of a novel magneto-optical method for the detection of malaria parasites. PLoS ONE, 9 (5). e96981. pp. 1-8.

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Abstract

Improving the efficiency of malaria diagnosis is one of the main goals of current malaria research. We have recently developed a magneto-optical (MO) method which allows high-sensitivity detection of malaria pigment (hemozoin crystals) in blood via the magnetically induced rotational motion of the hemozoin crystals. Here, we evaluate this MO technique for the detection of Plasmodium falciparum in infected erythrocytes using in-vitro parasite cultures covering the entire intraerythrocytic life cycle. Our novel method detected parasite densities as low as, ~40 parasites per microliter of blood (0.0008% parasitemia) at the ring stage and less than 10 parasites/μL (0.0002% parasitemia) in the case of the later stages. These limits of detection, corresponding to approximately 20 pg/μL of hemozoin produced by the parasites, exceed that of rapid diagnostic tests and compete with the threshold achievable by light microscopic observation of blood smears. The MO diagnosis requires no special training of the operator or specific reagents for parasite detection, except for an inexpensive lysis solution to release intracellular hemozoin. The devices can be designed to a portable format for clinical and in-field tests. Besides testing its diagnostic performance, we also applied the MO technique to investigate the change in hemozoin concentration during parasite maturation. Our preliminary data indicate that this method may offer an efficient tool to determine the amount of hemozoin produced by the different parasite stages in synchronized cultures. Hence, it could eventually be used for testing the susceptibility of parasites to antimalarial drugs.

Item ID: 35423
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information:

© 2014 Orbán et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Hungarian Research Funds (HRF), National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: HRF TKA K108918, , HRF AMOP-4.2.1.B-09/1/KMR-2010-0001, NHMRC grant GNT 1021544, NHMRC grant GNT 1043345, NHMRC grant GNT 637406, NHMRC grant GNT 1058665, NHMRC grant GNT 1052760
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2014 07:12
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110309 Infectious Diseases @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1108 Medical Microbiology > 110803 Medical Parasitology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920203 Diagnostic Methods @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 50%
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