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J Infect Dis. 2000 Sep;182(3):988-92. Epub 2000 Aug 17.

Reduced interleukin-12 and transforming growth factor-beta1 in severe childhood malaria: relationship of cytokine balance with disease severity.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Parasitic Diseases, Molecular Vaccine Section, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.


Interleukin (IL)-12 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 regulate the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in animal models of malaria. Since the cytokine balance may be an important determinant of whether a protective or a pathogenic immune response develops, plasma cytokine ratios were examined in Gabonese children with various degrees of malarial severity. Severe disease was characterized by high-density parasitemia and severe anemia. IL-12 and TGF-beta1 were significantly lower, whereas tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and IL-10 were significantly higher in children with severe malaria. The ratios of TGF-beta1/IL-12 and IL-10/IL-12 were significantly higher in the severe, compared with the mild, malaria group. In contrast, ratios of TGF-beta1/TNF-alpha and IL-10/TNF-alpha were significantly lower in the severe malaria group. These results suggest that the inflammatory cascade in severe malaria is characterized by suppression of the protective effects of TGF-beta1 and IL-12, and that overproduction of TNF-alpha may promote deleterious effects, such as severe anemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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