What is the role of Plasmodia metabolism in the pathophysiology of malaria?

Updated: Apr 26, 2019
  • Author: Thomas E Herchline, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

The parasites derive their energy solely from glucose, and they metabolize it 70 times faster than the RBCs they inhabit, thereby causing hypoglycemia and lactic acidosis. The plasmodia also cause lysis of infected and uninfected RBCs, suppression of hematopoiesis, and increased clearance of RBCs by the spleen, which leads to anemia as well as splenomegaly. Over time, malaria infection may also cause thrombocytopenia.


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