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Loss of olfaction as an early symptom of cerebral malaria

Mouse studies suggest loss of olfaction could be an early indicator of cerebral malaria infection. In a mouse model of cerebral malaria, MRI showed microbleeding within the olfactory bulb and other pathophysiology including accumulation of Cd8+ T cells in local capillaries. In the mice, impaired olfaction developed within four days of infection and was associated with the loss of blood brain barrier integrity and upregulated expression of chemokine CC motif ligand 21 (Ccl21). An antibody against Ccl21or knockout of its receptor, CC chemokine receptor 7 (Ccr7; Cd197), increased survival in the mice compared with an isotype control antibody or expression of wild-type Ccr7. Next steps include validating the loss of olfaction as a marker of cerebral malaria infection in nonhuman primates and humans.

SciBX 7(24); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.723
Published online June 19, 2014

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Zhao, H. et al. Cell Host Microbe;
published online May 15, 2014;
Contact: Cevayir Coban, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan