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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4158698, 12 pages
Research Article

Association of Heme Oxygenase 1 with Lung Protection in Malaria-Associated ALI/ARDS

1Departamento de Imunologia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Departamento de Análises Clínicas e Toxicológicas, Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Departamento de Parasitologia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 17 August 2016; Revised 10 October 2016; Accepted 18 October 2016

Academic Editor: Jing Zhao

Copyright © 2016 Marcelo L. M. Pereira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Malaria is a serious disease, caused by the parasite of the genus Plasmodium, which was responsible for 440,000 deaths in 2015. Acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS) is one of the main clinical complications in severe malaria. The murine model DBA/2 reproduces the clinical signs of ALI/ARDS in humans, when infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA. High levels of HO-1 were reported in cases of severe malaria. Our data indicated that the HO-1 mRNA and protein expression are increased in mice that develop malaria-associated ALI/ARDS (MA-ALI/ARDS). Additionally, the hemin, a HO-1 inducing drug, prevented mice from developing MA-ALI/ARDS when administered prior to the development of MA-ALI/ARDS in this model. Also, hemin treatment showed an amelioration of respiratory parameters in mice, high VEGF levels in the sera, and a decrease in vascular permeability in the lung, which are signs of ALI/ARDS. Therefore, the induction of HO-1 before the development of MA-ALI/ARDS could be protective. However, the increased expression of HO-1 on the onset of MA-ALI/ARDS development may represent an effort to revert the phenotype of this syndrome by the host. We therefore confirm that HO-1 inducing drugs could be used for prevention of MA-ALI/ARDS in humans.