UMMS Affiliation

Program in Molecular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Brain; Disease Models, Animal; Disease Progression; Female; Least-Squares Analysis; Malaria; Male; Metabolomics; Mice; Mice, Inbred BALB C; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular; Plasmodium berghei; Principal Component Analysis; Sex Characteristics; Urine


Immunology and Infectious Disease | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


BACKGROUND: Metabolic changes in the host in response to Plasmodium infection play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of malaria. Alterations in metabolism of male and female mice infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA are reported here.

METHODS: 1H NMR spectra of urine, sera and brain extracts of these mice were analysed over disease progression using Principle Component Analysis and Orthogonal Partial Least Square Discriminant Analysis.

RESULTS: Analyses of overall changes in urinary profiles during disease progression demonstrate that females show a significant early post-infection shift in metabolism as compared to males. In contrast, serum profiles of female mice remain unaltered in the early infection stages; whereas that of the male mice changed. Brain metabolite profiles do not show global changes in the early stages of infection in either sex. By the late stages urine, serum and brain profiles of both sexes are severely affected. Analyses of individual metabolites show significant increase in lactate, alanine and lysine, kynurenic acid and quinolinic acid in sera of both males and females at this stage. Early changes in female urine are marked by an increase of ureidopropionate, lowering of carnitine and transient enhancement of asparagine and dimethylglycine. Several metabolites when analysed individually in sera and brain reveal significant changes in their levels in the early phase of infection mainly in female mice. Asparagine and dimethylglycine levels decrease and quinolinic acid increases early in sera of infected females. In brain extracts of females, an early rise in levels is also observed for lactate, alanine and glycerol, kynurenic acid, ureidopropionate and 2-hydroxy-2-methylbutyrate.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that P. berghei infection leads to impairment of glycolysis, lipid metabolism, metabolism of tryptophan and degradation of uracil. Characterization of early changes along these pathways may be crucial for prognosis and better disease management. Additionally, the distinct sexual dimorphism exhibited in these responses has a bearing on the understanding of the pathophysiology of malaria.

DOI of Published Version



Malar J. 2010 Apr 23;9:110. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Malaria journal


Co-author Mayuri Rege is a GSBS student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID