Progress towards the development of a malaria vaccine against Plasmodium vivax, the most widely distributed human malaria parasite, will require a better understanding of the immune responses that confer clinical protection to patients in regions where malaria is endemic.
Glutathione S-transferase (GST) and GST-fusion proteins representing the N- terminus of the merozoite surface protein 1 of P. vivax, PvMSP1-N, and the C-terminus, PvMSP1-C, were covalently coupled to BioPlex carboxylated beads. Recombinant proteins and coupled beads were used, respectively, in ELISA and Bioplex assays using immune sera of P. vivax patients from Brazil and PNG to determine IgG and subclass responses. Concordances between the two methods in the seropositivity responses were evaluated using the Kappa statistic and the Spearman's rank correlation.
The results using this methodology were compared with the classical microtitre enzyme-linked immnosorbent assay (ELISA), showing that the assay was sensitive, reproducible and had good concordance with ELISA; yet, further research into different statistical analyses seems desirable before claiming conclusive results exclusively based on multiplex assays. As expected, results demonstrated that PvMSP1 was immunogenic in natural infections of patients from different endemic regions of Brazil and Papua New Guinea (PNG), and that age correlated only with antibodies against the C-terminus part of the molecule. Furthermore, the IgG subclass profiles were different in these endemic regions having IgG3 predominantly recognizing PvMSP1 in Brazil and IgG1 predominantly recognizing PvMSP1 in PNG.