Separation and Concentration of Schizonts of Plasmodium falciparum by Percoll Gradients


  • This investigation received support from the UNDP/WORLD BANK/WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, and from Research contract AID/DSP E-C-0036, United States Agency for International Development.

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A technique for the separation of schizonts of Plasmodium falciparum is described. The different stages of the asexual cell cycle of the parasite were positioned according to their density in a continuous gradient of Percoll. Young trophozoites coincided with erythrocytes in a broad band corresponding to densities from 1.075 to 1.100 g/ml, whereas schizonts were concentrated at a density approximating 1.062 g/ml. The viability of the parasites was unimpaired by this procedure. Young trophozoites and schizonts continued their normal life cycle when cultured after the separation procedure. The percentage of recovery was high, reaching 80% of the initial quantity. Possible applications of the technique are discussed.