IFN-γ in uncomplicated and severe malaria in children

Nisreen Daffa Alla, M. Y. Sukkar

Abstract


Background: Immunity against malaria appears to require early production of IFN-γ, which may
occur following repeated infections. However, its excessive uncontrolled production leads to malaria
complications. Some studies report the protective role of IFN-γ against severe anaemia while other reports
link its production with cerebral malaria.
Objectives: the aim of this study was to measure and compare serum IFN-γ levels between children
presenting with uncomplicated and those with severe malaria (SM). We also investigated the variation in
IFN-γ response with age.
Materials and methods: The study is a cross-sectional study conducted at Wad Medani Paediatric
Hospital in the period September 2007 to September 2008. Fifty-six children with SM, identified according
to WHO criteria, were included in the study. Thirty-one children with uncomplicated malaria (UM) were
included for comparison. The following parameters were measured: parasitemia, Hb, RBG, TWBC, liver
enzymes, bilirubin, urea, creatinine, sodium, potassium and the cytokine IFN-γ.
Results: The mean age of children with UM was 82.71 months while in SM it was 56.75 (p value 0.001).
Children older than 5 years showed significantly higher IFN-γ level than those 5 years or below. Children
with cerebral malaria showed higher levels than those with UM and then those with other severe malaria
manifestations but this were not statically significant. Significant positive correlation was detected between
IFN-γ and haemoglobin and the lowest mean IFN-γ level was found in those with severe anaemia.
Conclusions: Old age, UM and CM were associated with high IFN-γ levels. The high IFN-γ level associated
with higher haemoglobin concentration seems to protect against the development of severe anaemia.

Keywords


IFN-γ;uncomplicated;severe ;malaria; children

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