What are the histologic findings for the Plasmodium species associated with malaria?

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

The table below compares histologic findings for P falciparum, P vivax, P ovale, and P malariae.

Table 1. Histologic Variations Among Plasmodium Species (Open Table in a new window)

Findings

P falciparum

P vivax

P ovale

P malariae

Only early forms present in peripheral blood

Yes

No

No

No

Multiply-infected RBCs

Often

Occasionally

Rare

Rare

Age of infected RBCs

RBCs of all ages

Young RBCs

Young RBCs

Old RBCs

Schüffner dots

No

Yes

Yes

No

Other features

Cells have thin cytoplasm, 1 or 2 chromatin dots, and applique forms.

Late trophozoites develop pleomorphic cytoplasm.

Infected RBCs become oval, with tufted edges.

Bandlike trophozoites are distinctive.


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