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  Table of Contents  
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 488

Umpteen secrets of a hidden life: Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes

Epidemiology & Clinical Research Division, National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR), Sector 8, Dwarka, New Delhi-110077, India

Date of Submission10-May-2012
Date of Acceptance20-Jul-2012
Date of Web Publication24-Nov-2012

Correspondence Address:
S Sharma
Epidemiology & Clinical Research Division, National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR), Sector 8, Dwarka, New Delhi-110077
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.103788

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How to cite this article:
Sharma S, Kumar N. Umpteen secrets of a hidden life: Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes. Indian J Med Microbiol 2012;30:488

How to cite this URL:
Sharma S, Kumar N. Umpteen secrets of a hidden life: Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Oct 24];30:488. Available from:

Dear Editor,

Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes are the sexual stage of parasite, which transmits the disease malaria from human host to vector mosquitoes. Briefly, these gametocytes are present in the blood of human in a rested stage until they are ingested by a feeding mosquito. Inside the mosquito midgut, male microgamete is released that fertilizes activated female macrogamete. As a result of this, ookinetes are formed, which later on develop to sporozoites in the salivary gland of mosquito and subsequently render infection to human. The presence and successful development of male and female gametocyte forms ensure continued malaria transmission. [1] Till date the precise mechanism of gametocytogenesis is still under cover [2] . Thus, these gametocytes made themselves vital for the maintenance of malaria transmission cycle.

The gametocyte of Plasmodium falciparum is resistant to a wide variety of drugs and circulates in the blood for a longer duration of time than that of other species. [3] Their presence alone does not cause any clinical symptoms and they can be in erythrocytic circulation for a week even after the treatment, which is a matter of concern as they are in the transmission stage. [4] There is a need to understand gametocyte carriage duration for the development of gametocidal antimalarials. [5] This will be aimed to reduce malaria transmission. Techniques including molecular detection tools for submicroscopic gametocyte detection have become important to eliminate malaria. Authentic data on prevalence of gametocyte in a population is essential to combat the battle against ongoing malaria transmission. Assessment of gametocyte carriers in a population is quite critical to understand malaria transmission and it is also beneficial for the epidemiology studies.

 ~ References Top

1.Dyer M, Day KP. Commitment to gametocytocytogensis in Plasmodium falciparum. Parasitol Today 2000; 16:102-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Kaushal DC, Carter R, Miller LH, Krishna G. Gametocytogenesis by malaria parasite in continuous culture. Nature 1980;286:490-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Butcher GA. Antimalarial drugs and the mosquito transmission of Plasmodium. Int J Parasitol 1997;27:975-87.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Drakely C, Sutherland C, Bonsema JT, Sauerwein RW, Targett GA. The epidemiology of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes: Weapons of mass dispersion. Trends Parasitol 2006;22:424-30.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Teun Bonsema and Chris Drakley. Epidemiology and Infectivity of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax gametocyte in relation to malaria control and elimination. Clin Microbiol Rev 2011;24:377-410.  Back to cited text no. 5


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