Optimisation of flow cytometric measurement of parasitaemia in plasmodium-infected mice

D. Barkan, H. Ginsburg, J. Golenser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Mouse malaria is often used as a model for drug testing. The results of drug trials are monitored by tedious (and consequently, sometimes inaccurate) microscopic counting of blood smears, or by flow cytometry. We suggest an improved, accurate and time-saving flow cytometric method for determination of parasitaemias in mice infected with Plasmodium vinckei petteri or Plasmodium berghei. The method involves collection of drops of blood from the tail vein, fixation, storage, permeabilisation, staining and analysis with a visible range flow cytometer. Three nucleic acid dyes, YOYO-1, propidium iodide and acridine orange were compared. YOYO-1 was found to be the best stain for the discrimination of parasitised erythrocytes from non-infected ones. A good direct correlation was obtained between parasitaemia determined by conventional microscopy and parasitaemia measured by flow cytometry. Drug effects could be assessed by the cytometric method. For the detection of low level of parasitemia, parasitised cells were treated with RNAse to completely cancel RNA-derived signals originating from host reticulocytes. This procedure also revealed discrete peaks arising from red cells infected with multiple parasites or from parasites with different numbers of nuclei. Copyright (C) 2000.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)649-653
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Flow cytometry
  • Malaria
  • Parasitaemia
  • Plasmodium berghei
  • Plasmodium vinckei petteri


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