Iron Chelation as a Chemotherapeutic Strategy for Falciparum Malaria

View More View Less
  • MetroHealth Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University, Macha Mission Hospital, Choma, Zambia, Ciba-Geigy Limited, Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, Switzerland
Restricted access

To examine the effect of iron chelation against human malaria, 37 Zambians with asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum infections were randomly assigned to 72-hr infusions of desferrioxamine B or placebo. Mean concentrations of ring forms decreased significantly with desferoxamine B (P < 0.001) but not with a placebo. Over seven days of observation, mean parasite concentrations remained at the initial levels in six individuals originally given placebo, but decreased promptly with administration of desferrioxamine B (P = 0.001). Mean parasitemia was significantly lower for up to four weeks in 16 subjects treated with desferrioxamine B when compared with the eight who had received placebo only (P = 0.027). We conclude that iron chelation has antiplasmodial activity and may offer a new therapeutic strategy for falciparum malaria.