Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Mechanisms of murine cerebral malaria: Multimodal imaging of altered cerebral metabolism and protein oxidation at hemorrhage sites

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Science Advances  18 Dec 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 11, e1500911
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500911


Using a multimodal biospectroscopic approach, we settle several long-standing controversies over the molecular mechanisms that lead to brain damage in cerebral malaria, which is a major health concern in developing countries because of high levels of mortality and permanent brain damage. Our results provide the first conclusive evidence that important components of the pathology of cerebral malaria include peroxidative stress and protein oxidation within cerebellar gray matter, which are colocalized with elevated nonheme iron at the site of microhemorrhage. Such information could not be obtained previously from routine imaging methods, such as electron microscopy, fluorescence, and optical microscopy in combination with immunocytochemistry, or from bulk assays, where the level of spatial information is restricted to the minimum size of tissue that can be dissected. We describe the novel combination of chemical probe–free, multimodal imaging to quantify molecular markers of disturbed energy metabolism and peroxidative stress, which were used to provide new insights into understanding the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria. In addition to these mechanistic insights, the approach described acts as a template for the future use of multimodal biospectroscopy for understanding the molecular processes involved in a range of clinically important acute and chronic (neurodegenerative) brain diseases to improve treatment strategies.

  • Cerebral Malaria
  • Murine Model
  • Molecular Mechanism
  • Multi-modal Imaging
  • X-ray Fluorecence Microscopy
  • FTIR Imaging
  • resonance Raman Imaging
  • Nuclear Microprobe
  • Altered Cerebral Metabolism
  • Protein Oxidation

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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