Reduced parasite burden in children with falciparum malaria and bacteremia coinfections: Role of mediators of inflammation

Gregory C. Davenport, James B. Hittner, Vincent Otieno, Zachary Karim, Harshini Mukundan, Paul W. Fenimore, Nicolas W. Hengartner, Benjamin H. McMahon, Prakasha Kempaiah, John M. Ong'Echa, Douglas J. Perkins

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Bacteremia and malaria coinfection is a common and life-threatening condition in children residing in sub-Saharan Africa. We previously showed that coinfection with Gram negative (G[-]) enteric Bacilli and Plasmodium falciparum (Pf[+]) was associated with reduced high-density parasitemia (HDP, >10,000 parasites/μL), enhanced respiratory distress, and severe anemia. Since inflammatory mediators are largely unexplored in such coinfections, circulating cytokines were determined in four groups of children (n = 206, aged <3 yrs): healthy; Pf[+] alone; G[-] coinfected; and G[+] coinfected. Staphylococcus aureus and non-Typhi Salmonella were the most frequently isolated G[+] and G[-] organisms, respectively. Coinfected children, particularly those with G[-] pathogens, had lower parasite burden (peripheral and geometric mean parasitemia and HDP). In addition, both coinfected groups had increased IL-4, IL-5, IL-7, IL-12, IL-15, IL-17, IFN-γ, and IFN-α and decreased TNF-α relative to malaria alone. Children with G[-] coinfection had higher IL-1β and IL-1Ra and lower IL-10 than the Pf[+] group and higher IFN-γ than the G[+] group. To determine how the immune response to malaria regulates parasitemia, cytokine production was investigated with a multiple mediation model. Cytokines with the greatest mediational impact on parasitemia were IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, and IFN-γ. Results here suggest that enhanced immune activation, especially in G[-] coinfected children, acts to reduce malaria parasite burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4286576
JournalMediators of Inflammation
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology


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