Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Infectious Diseases, and Department of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, University of Vienna, Department of Clinical Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Vienna, Austria
The pathophysiologic backgrounds of anemia in malaria are complex and multifactorial. The purpose of the present study was to measure serum concentrations of erythropoietin (EPO) and to evaluate the adequacy of EPO production in patients suffering from acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Fifteen patients with complicated malaria were included in the study. Serum samples were taken on the day of admission, and days 7, 14, 21, and 28. Serum EPO concentrations were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The median serum EPO concentration was 15.6 mU/ml on the day of admission (range 0.5–567) mU/ml, 10.6 mU/ml (1.2–863) on day 7, 11.8 mU/ml (0.5–72.8) on day 14, 10 mU/ml (0.5–74.6) on day 21, and 8.3 mU/ml (2.2–61.6) on day 28. Inadequate EPO production was found in 46.6% of the patients on the day of admission, which increased to 67% and 68% on days 7 and 14, and reached a maximum of 80% on day 21. Almost 54% of patients had inadequate EPO production on day 28. Our data indicate inadequate EPO production in patients suffering from acute P. falciparum malaria, which might contribute to the prolonged anemia observed in these patients.