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The balance between pro- and antiinflammatory mechanisms is essential to limit immune-mediated pathology, and CD4+ forkhead box P3 (Foxp3+) regulatory T cells (Treg) play an important role in this process. The expression of inhibitory receptors regulates cytokine production by Plasmodium vivax-specific T cells. Our goal was to assess the induction of programmed death-1 (PD-1) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen (CTLA-4) on Treg during malaria and to evaluate their function. We found that P. vivax infection triggered an increase in circulating Treg and their expression of CTLA-4 and PD-1. Functional analysis demonstrated that Treg from malaria patients had impaired suppressive ability and PD-1+Treg displayed lower levels of Foxp3 and Helios, but had higher frequencies of T-box transcription factor+ and interferon-gamma+ cells than PD-1-Treg. Thus malaria infection alters the function of circulating Treg by triggering increased expression of PD-1 on Treg that is associated with decreased regulatory function and increased proinflammatory characteristics.

Original publication




Journal article


J Infect Dis

Publication Date





1314 - 1323