Researchers from the Department of Cellular Parasitology at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) and the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) as well as several international research groups were able to examine a total of 32 adult malaria patients, mostly travellers. These patients had different histories of infection and showed different degrees of clinical symptoms.
The team focused primarily on the mechanism by which malaria-infected red blood cells bind to the inner walls of human blood vessels. So-called adhesion proteins of the parasite (PfEMP1) play an important role here. These proteins can be very different and can attach themselves to different receptors of the vessel wall cells.