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Parasite Immunol. 2002 Sep-Oct;24(9-10):489-92.

Plasma levels of interleukin-18 and interleukin-12 in Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Catania, Italy.


Interleukin (IL)-18 produced primarily by mononuclear phagocytes synergizes with IL-12 for interferon-gamma production from T, B and natural killer cells. It has been also demonstrated that, in Plasmodium falciparum malaria, IL-18 could have an immunoregulatory function. The aim of this study was to detect the plasma levels of IL-12 and IL-18, using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, in 105 African children affected by mild and severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria to correlate the production of these cytokines with the severity of the disease. The levels of IL-18 and IL-12 were higher (25.7 +/- 7.6 pg/ml and 17.1 +/- 7.8 pg/ml, respectively) in children with mild malaria than in children with a severe form of the disease (21.5 +/- 10 pg/ml and 13.2 +/- 5.5 pg/ml, respectively). A positive correlation was observed between IL-18 and IL-12. This finding suggests that the production of these two cytokines (IL-18 and IL 12) may be coregulated and both have an immunoregulatory effect on the immune response in Plasmodium falciparum infection.

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