Reversed-phase h.p.l.c. was used to detect 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine-reactive carbonyl products, which excludes malonaldehyde, in malaria-parasite (Plasmodium vinckei)-infected murine red blood cells (RBCs). A number of alkanals, 4-hydroxyalk-2-enals and alka-2,4-dienals were tentatively identified by comparison with authentic standards. The formation of 4-hydroxynon-2-enal, deca-2,4-dienal and hexanal was greater in P. vinckei-infected RBCs than in their uninfected counterparts and was increased by the presence of t-butyl hydroperoxide. Several of these aldehydes have previously been shown to be toxic to various types of cells, including P. falciparum, in vitro. The iron chelator desferrioxamine and the free-radical scavenger butylated hydroxyanisole inhibited the formation of these aldehydes. These experiments demonstrate that products of lipid peroxidation other than malonaldehyde are formed during the exposure of malaria-infected RBCs in vitro to drugs that generate reactive oxygen species and have anti-parasitic activity. The formation of products of this type during the natural course of malaria infection may have implications for the mechanisms underlying intra-RBC parasite death and the tissue damage associated with the disease.

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