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IMMUNE COMPLEX LEVELS IN CHILDREN WITH SEVERE PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM MALARIA

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  • 1 Department of Zoology, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya; The U.S. Army Medical Research Unit, Nairobi, Kenya; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya; Department of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland

Malaria infection leads to the formation of circulating immune complexes. However, it is unclear whether these complexes play a role in the pathogenesis of complicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. This study aimed at determining if there are differences in the levels of immune complexes between children with severe malaria-associated anemia and cerebral malaria and between each of these two groups and their respective uncomplicated symptomatic malaria or healthy asymptomatic controls. Children with severe malaria-associated anemia and cerebral malaria had significantly higher immune complex levels than their respective controls, but there were no significant differences in the levels between the two severe malaria groups. In addition, there was an inverse relationship between the hemoglobin levels and immune complex levels in the severe anemia controls, suggesting that immune complexes may contribute to erythrocyte destruction in these children. These results suggest that immune complex levels alone cannot account for the differences in the distinct clinical presentation between severe malaria-associated anemia and cerebral malaria.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: José A. Stoute, Department of Cellular Injury, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 503 Robert Grant Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910, Tel 301-319-9510, Fax 301-319-9133, E-mail: jose.stoute@us.army.mil.
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