Malariometric Indices and Hemoglobin Type

A. E. Boyo Department of Pathology, College of Medicine of the University of Lagos, Nigeria

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An investigation of malariometric indices in Nigerian children of different hemoglobin phenotypes showed that in addition to the occurrence of lower Plasmodium falciparum parasite counts in sickle cell trait children, their average enlarged spleen index was much lower than in normal children of the same age group. It was almost identical with that reported for immune adult Africans in areas of malarial hyperendemicity. No differences in the incidence of P. falciparum malaria or in spleen rates were observed between normal (HbA HbA) homozygotes and sickle cell heterozygotes (HbA HbS). The significance of these findings is discussed and it is postulated that one mechanism of sickle cell polymorphism is associated with an enhanced protective host response occurring in sickle cell trait children in early life during the process of acquiring immunity against P. falciparum malaria.

Author Notes

Present address: Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England.