Volume 74, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Haptoglobin (Hp) is an acute phase protein that removes free hemoglobin (Hb) released during hemolysis. Hp has also been shown to be toxic for malaria parasites. α-Thalassemia is a hemoglobinopathy that results in subclinical hemolytic anemia. α-Thassemia homozygosity confers protection against severe malarial disease by an as yet unidentified mechanism. Hp levels were measured in a serial cross-sectional survey of children in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Hp levels were related to age, Hp genotype, Hb levels, parasitemia, splenomegaly, and α-thalassemia genotype. Surprisingly, children who were homozygous for α -thalassemia had significantly higher levels of Hp than did heterozygotes, after controlling for relevant confounders. We suggest that this is the result of either reduced mean cell Hb associated with α -thalassemia homozygosity or an elevated IL-6–dependent acute phase response.


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  • Received : 20 Aug 2005
  • Accepted : 02 Feb 2006

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