Acquisition of immunity to Plasmodium falciparum sexual stages is a key determinant for reducing humanmosquito transmission by preventing the fertilization and the development of the parasite in the mosquito midgut. Naturally acquired immunity against sexual stages may therefore form the basis for the development of transmission-blocking vaccines, but studies conducted to date offer little in the way of consistent findings. Here, we describe the acquisition of antigametocyte immune responses in malaria-exposed individuals in Burkina Faso. A total of 719 blood samples were collected in a series of three cross-sectional surveys at the start, peak, and end of the wet season. The seroprevalence of antibodies with specificity for the sexual stage antigens Pfs48/45 and Pfs230 was 2-fold lower (22 to 28%) than that for an asexual blood stage antigen glutamate-rich protein (GLURP) (65%) or for the preerythrocytic stage antigen circumsporozoite protein (CSP) (54%). The youngest children responded at frequencies similar to those for all four antigens but, in contrast with the immune responses to GLURP and CSP that increased with age independently of season and area of residence, there was no evidence for a clear age dependence of responses to Pfs48/45 and Pfs230. Anti-Pfs230 antibodies were most prevalent at the peak of the wet season (P < 0.001). Our findings suggest that naturally acquired immunity against Pfs48/45 and Pfs230 is a function of recent exposure rather than of cumulative exposure to gametocytes.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1128/IAI.05288-11, hdl.handle.net/1765/33201
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Ouédraogo, A.L., Roeffen, W., Luty, A.J.F., de Vlas, S.J., Nébié, I., Ilboudo-Sanogo, E., … Sauerwein, R.W.. (2011). Naturally acquired immune responses to Plasmodium falciparum sexual stage antigens Pfs48/45 and Pfs230 in an area of seasonal transmission. Infection and Immunity, 79(12), 4957–4964. doi:10.1128/IAI.05288-11