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Parasite Immunol. 2006 May;28(5):201-7.

Parasite density and serum cytokine levels in Plasmodium vivax malaria in Turkey.

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Harran University Medical Faculty, Microbiology, Sanliurfa, Turkey.


We aimed to investigate the relationship between quantitative Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia and serum cytokine levels in a highly endemic region of Turkey, where such a relation has not been investigated before. Active screening was done in a total of 1316 people residing in 33 villages of Sanliurfa province, Turkey. The study population consisted of 79 consecutive patients with P. vivax malaria, and a control group included 89 healthy subjects. Thick blood smears were examined for malaria parasite and parasite count. Serum samples were analysed for IL-1beta, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and IL-12 by the ELISA method. Compared to controls, levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, i.e. IL-1beta, IL-6 and IL-12, were significantly higher in patients with parasitaemia. There was a significant positive correlation between serum IL-10 and IL-12 levels and the parasite burden (r = 0.264, P = 0.024 and r = 0.264, P = 0.024, respectively). Serum IL-8 levels showed a significant negative correlation with parasite burden (r =-0.356, P = 0.002). There was a positive correlation between IL-8 levels and age, while the opposite was observed for IL-12. High fever was correlated with IL-6 and IL-10 levels. Compared to controls, patients with a parasite count greater than 5000/microL had a significantly higher IL-1beta and IL-10 levels (P < 0.05), while the difference was not significant for patients with a parasite count less than 1000/microL. Thus, we can conclude that pro-inflammatory response against P. vivax gains more importance during periods of increased parasite burden.

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