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J Infect Dis. 2003 Oct 1;188(7):1074-82. Epub 2003 Sep 23.

Changes in the levels of chemokines and cytokines in the placentas of women with Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

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Department of Biology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, USA.


Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes often are sequestered in the placenta and stimulate the accumulation of maternal mononuclear cells. In this study, the role that chemokines and cytokines play in mediating the inflammatory response was investigated. Placental parasites elicited a statistically significant increase in the levels of interferon (IFN)-gamma, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, and interleukin (IL)-10, in plasma collected from the intervillous space. Explants of fetal tissue from malaria-positive placentas also secreted significantly enhanced amounts of IFN-gamma. Culture supernatant of maternal intervillous leukocytes obtained from infected placentas contained significantly higher levels of TNF-alpha, IL-10, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1alpha, MIP-1beta, and IFN-gamma inducible protein-10 than did cultures of white blood cells obtained from uninfected placentas. Taken together, these results show that both fetal and maternal cells secrete inflammatory and immunoregulatory cytokines in response to P. falciparum and suggest that beta-chemokines produced by maternal cells contribute to the accumulation of macrophages in the intervillous space.

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