Send to

Choose Destination
Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2001 Sep-Oct;95(5):545-9.

Complement binding to erythrocytes is associated with macrophage activation and reduced haemoglobin in Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

Author information

Department of Child Health, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, P.O. Box 4236, Accra, Ghana.


We have examined IgG and complement factor C3d deposition on erythrocytes by means of the direct Coombs' test (DAT) and looked for an association with the anaemia seen in falciparum malaria in children living in an area of hyperendemic malaria transmission (in Ghana). In one study (in 1997), 53 out of 199 patients had a positive DAT. Of these, 45 samples reacted with anti-C3d antibodies, 2 with anti-IgG and 6 with both reagents. There were significantly lower haemoglobin (Hb)-levels and higher prevalence of spleen enlargement in DAT-positive than in DAT-negative patients. Hb-levels were independently associated with DAT and age. This initial study was designed to investigate the role of intravascular haemolysis (IVH), but we found no association between IVH and either DAT result or anaemia. Because of the risk of selection bias we repeated the study using consecutive enrollment of malaria patients and were able to confirm the results in a total of 49 DAT-positive and 183 DAT-negative patients. This second study (in 1998) was designed to look at the importance of erythrophagocytosis through measurement of plasma neopterin levels and total nitrite and nitrate as markers of NO-release. Both parameters were significantly higher in DAT-positive than in DAT-negative patients (P < 0.001), indicating that complement binding to erythrocytes was associated with macrophage activation. Plasma levels of haptoglobin, interleukin-10 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha did not vary between the groups. The studies support the role of complement activation and erythrophagocytosis in the pathogenesis of anaemia in falciparum malaria in African children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center