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Bull World Health Organ. 1973;49(6):547-54.

Plasma immunoglobulin concentrations in mothers and newborn children with special reference to placental malaria: Studies in the Gambia, Nigeria, and Switzerland.


The immunoglobulin levels in sera from mothers and newborn infants were studied in Gambian, Nigerian, and Swiss populations. The maternal levels of IgG and IgM, but not IgA, varied with locality. As they were highest in Gambian and lowest in Swiss women, they may have reflected differences in the endemicity of infectious diseases in the different environments. The neonatal Ig levels showed less variation than the maternal. Neither maternal nor neonatal levels of IgG showed any consistent relationship with birthweight; however, when maternal IgG levels were low the neonatal levels tended to exceed them. The mean IgG and IgM levels were higher in Gambian than in Nigerian or Swiss infants; the higher IgM values may have been due to more frequent antigenic stimulation in utero in the Gambian group. Evidence of placental malaria, mainly falciparum, was found in 76 of 234 Gambian women. No parasites were found in the blood from any neonate. The maternal levels of IgG, but not of IgM or IgA, were significantly elevated in association with placental malaria. The neonatal immunoglobulin levels were not influenced by placental malaria and no evidence was found to indicate that malaria infection of the placenta induced an immune response in the fetus.

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