Blood coagulation, inflammation, and malaria

Ivo M.B. Francischetti, Karl Seydel, Robson Monteiro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Malaria remains a highly prevalent disease in more than 90 countries and accounts for at least 1 million deaths every year. Plasmodium falciparum infection is often associated with a procoagulant tonus characterized by thrombocytopenia and activation of the coagulation cascade and fibrinolytic system; however, bleeding and hemorrhage are uncommon events, suggesting that a compensated state of blood coagulation activation occurs in malaria. This article (i) reviews the literature related to blood coagulation and malaria in a historic perspective, (ii) describes basic mechanisms of coagulation, anticoagulation, and fibrinolysis, (iii) explains the laboratory changes in acute and compensated disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), (iv) discusses the implications of tissue factor (TF) expression in the endothelium of P. falciparum infected patients, and (v) emphasizes the procoagulant role of parasitized red blood cells (RBCs) and activated platelets in the pathogenesis of malaria. This article also presents the Tissue Factor Model (TFM) for malaria pathogenesis, which places TF as the interface between sequestration, endothelial cell (EC) activation, blood coagulation disorder, and inflammation often associated with the disease. The relevance of the coagulation-inflammation cycle for the multiorgan dysfunction and coma is discussed in the context of malaria pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-107
Number of pages27
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Endothelium
  • Prothrombinase
  • Sepsis
  • Tissue factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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