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Trop Med Int Health. 2000 Apr;5(4):256-62.

Markers of inflammation in children with severe malarial anaemia.

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Churches Medical Association of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia.



To investigate if severe malarial anaemia is associated with a specific immune response pattern, we determined serum levels of neopterin (a marker of activation of macrophages by interferon-gamma) and of the anti-inflammatory cytokines, interleukins 4 and 10.


Zambian children < 6 years of age presenting to a rural hospital with cerebral malaria were studied. Twenty-one children with admission haemoglobin concentrations </= 5 g/dl were classified as having severe anaemia and 40 with haemoglobin concentrations >/= 7 g/dl served as a control group.


Logistic regression modelling indicated that a 10-fold rise in serum neopterin concentrations was associated with a 50-fold increase in the estimated odds of having severe anaemia (P = 0.015), while a 10-fold rise in serum interleukin 4 concentrations was associated with a 10-fold decrease in the estimated odds of having severe anaemia (P = 0.023). Increasing serum interleukin 10 concentrations, measured in less than half of the subjects, were associated with a nonsignificant reduction in the odds of having severe anaemia (P = 0.095).


Development of severe malarial anaemia may be directly associated with serum neopterin concentrations and inversely correlated with serum interleukin 4 levels.

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