Periodicity and synchronization in blood-stage malaria infection

Ying Su, Shigui Ruan, Junjie Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Malaria fever is highly periodic and is associated with the parasite replication cycles in red blood cells. The existence of periodicity in malaria infection demonstrates that parasite replication in different red blood cells is synchronized. In this article, rigorous mathematical analysis of an age-structured human malaria model of infected red blood cells (Rouzine and McKenzie, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:3473-3478, 2003) is provided and the synchronization of Plasmodium falciparum erythrocytic stages is investigated. By using the replication rate as the bifurcation parameter, the existence of Hopf bifurcation in the age-structured malaria infection model is obtained. Numerical simulations indicate that synchronization with regular periodic oscillations (of period 48 h) occurs when the replication rate increases. Therefore, Kwiatkowski and Nowak's observation (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 88:5111-5113, 1991) that synchronization could be generated at modest replication rates is confirmed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-574
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Mathematical Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Age-structured model
  • Hopf bifurcation
  • Malaria
  • Periodic solution
  • Stability
  • Synchronization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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