A parasitological and immunological survey was carried out in an area in Papua New Guinea highly endemic for malaria. Two hundred fourteen adult individuals were selected for studies to assess their immune responses against the malaria vaccine candidate ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen (RESA). Total immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies directed against RESA as well as specific IgG1, IgG2, and IgG3 antibodies were determined. Humoral responses directed against RESA were frequent in all IgG subclasses. Only IgG3 responses were found to be age dependent. Total anti-RESA IgG antibodies were not correlated with protection against malaria as measured by parasite prevalence, parasite density, or health center attendance. In contrast, cytophilic antibodies (IgG1 and IgG3) were associated with reduced Plasmodium falciparum prevalence and reduced health center attendance. T-cell proliferation in general was low and very infrequent. No correlation between humoral and cellular immune responses could be found. Parasite density, parasite prevalence, and health center visits tended to be reduced in individuals with good humoral and cell-mediated immune responses
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