Merozoite surface protein 8 (MSP-8) of Plasmodium parasites play an important role in erythrocyte invasion and is a potential malaria vaccine candidate.
In this study, virus-like particles (VLPs) expressing MSP-8 of Plasmodium berghei on the surface of influenza virus matrix protein 1 (M1) core protein were generated for vaccine efficacy assessment. Mice were intramuscularly (IM) immunized with MSP-8 VLPs twice and challenge-infected with P. berghei. We found that VLP vaccination elicited higher levels of P. berghei-specific IgG antibody response in the sera, along with blood CD4 and CD8 T cell response enhancement compared to the naïve control mice. CD4 and CD8 effector memory T cell and memory B cell responses in the spleen were found to be higher in VLP-immunized mice compared to control mice. VLP vaccination significantly reduced inflammatory cytokine (IFN-γ) response in the spleen and parasitemia levels in blood compared to naïve control mice.
These results indicate that MSP-8 containing virus-like particles could be a vaccine candidate for blood-stage vaccine design.

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