Hemozoin in Malarial Complications: More Questions Than Answers

Thao-Thy Pham, Tracey J Lamb, Katrien Deroost, Ghislain Opdenakker, Philippe E Van den Steen

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review


Plasmodium parasites contain various virulence factors that modulate the host immune response. Malarial pigment, or hemozoin (Hz), is an undegradable crystalline product of the hemoglobin degradation pathway in the parasite and possesses immunomodulatory properties. An association has been found between Hz accumulation and severe malaria, suggesting that the effects of Hz on the host immune response may contribute to the development of malarial complications. Although the immunomodulatory roles of Hz have been widely investigated, many conflicting data exist, likely due to the variability between experimental set-ups and technical limitations of Hz generation and isolation methods. Here, we critically assess the potential immunomodulatory effects of Hz, its role in malarial complications, and its potential effects after parasite clearance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends In Parasitology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)226-239
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Hemeproteins/immunology
  • Host-Parasite Interactions/immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation
  • Malaria/immunology
  • Research/standards


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