Monday, February 25, 2013

Cytokine and Antibody Responses to Plasmodium falciparum in Naïve Individuals during a First Malaria Episode: Effect of Age and Malaria Exposure

Published last week at PLoS ONE


Gemma Moncunill, Alfredo Mayor, Alfons Jiménez, Augusto Nhabomba, Laura Puyol, Maria N. Manaca, Diana Barrios, Pau Cisteró, Caterina Guinovart, Ruth Aguilar, Azucena Bardají, María-Jesús Pinazo, Evelina Angov, Sheetij Dutta, Chetan E. Chitnis, José Muñoz, Joaquim Gascón, Carlota Dobaño

Age- and exposure-dependent immune responses during a malaria episode may be key to understanding the role of these factors in the acquisition of immunity to malaria. Plasma/serum samples collected from naïve Mozambican children (n = 48), European adults (naïve travelers, n = 22; expatriates with few prior malaria exposures, n = 15) and Mozambican adults with long-life malaria exposure (n = 99) during and after a malaria episode were analyzed for IgG against merozoite proteins by Luminex and against infected erythrocytes by flow cytometry. Cytokines and chemokines were analyzed in plasmas/sera by suspension array technology. No differences were detected between children and adults with a primary infection, with the exception of higher IgG levels against 3D7 MSP-142 (P = 0.030) and a P. falciparum isolate (P= 0.002), as well as higher IL-12 (P = 0.020) in children compared to other groups. Compared to malaria-exposed adults, children, travelers and expatriates had higher concentrations of IFN-γ (P≤0.0090), IL-2 (P≤0.0379) and IL-8 (P≤0.0233). Children also had higher IL-12 (P = 0.0001), IL-4 (P = 0.003), IL-1β (P = 0.024) and TNF (P = 0.006) levels compared to malaria-exposed adults. Although IL-12 was elevated in children, overall the data do not support a role of age in immune responses to a first malaria episode. A TH1/pro-inflammatory response was the hallmark of non-immune subjects.

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