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Malaria during pregnancy and foetal haematological status in Blantyre, Malawi

Abrams, Elizabeth T.; Kwiek, Jesse K.; Mwapasa, Victor; Kamwendo, Deborah D.; Tadesse, Eyob; Lema, Valentino M.; Molyneux, Malcolm; Rogerson, Stephen J. and Meshnick, Steven R. (2005) Malaria during pregnancy and foetal haematological status in Blantyre, Malawi. Malaria Journal, 4 . Article Number: 39. ISSN 1475-2875

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Abstract

Background: Although maternal anaemia often stems from malaria infection during pregnancy, its effects on foetal haemoglobin levels are not straightforward. Lower-than-expected cord haemoglobin values in malarious versus non-malarious regions were noted by one review, which hypothesized they resulted from foetal immune activation to maternal malaria. This study addressed this idea by examining cord haemoglobin levels in relation to maternal malaria, anaemia, and markers of foetal immune activation. Methods: Cord haemoglobin levels were examined in 32 malaria-infected and 58 uninfected women in Blantyre, Malawi, in relation to maternal haemoglobin levels, malaria status, and markers of foetal haematological status, hypoxia, and inflammation, including TNF-α, TGF-β, and ferritin. All women were HIV-negative. Results: Although malaria was associated with a reduction in maternal haemoglobin (10.8 g/dL vs. 12.1 g/ dL, p < 0.001), no reduction in cord haemoglobin and no significant relationship between maternal and cord haemoglobin levels were found. Cord blood markers of haematological and hypoxic statuses did not differ between malaria-infected and uninfected women. Maternal malaria was associated with decreased TGF-β and increased cord ferritin, the latter of which was positively correlated with parasitaemia (r = 0.474, p = 0.009). Increased cord ferritin was associated with significantly decreased birth weight and gestational length, although maternal and cord haemoglobin levels and malaria status had no effect on birth outcome. Conclusion: In this population, cord haemoglobin levels were protected from the effect of maternal malaria. However, decreased TGF-β and elevated ferritin levels in cord blood suggest foetal immune activation to maternal malaria, which may help explain poor birth outcomes.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Published: 25 August 2005. 8 pages (page numbers not for citation purposes).
Uncontrolled Keywords:INTRAUTERINE GROWTH-RETARDATION; PLASMODIUM-FALCIPARUM MALARIA; NECROSIS-FACTOR-ALPHA; BIRTH-WEIGHT; ERYTHROPOIETIN PRODUCTION; PLACENTAL MALARIA; IMMUNE-RESPONSES; IRON STATUS; ANEMIA; CHILDREN
Subjects:R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-4-39
Publisher's Statement:© 2005 Abrams et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Related URLs:
Refereed:Yes
Status:Published
ID Code:774
Deposited On:04 Jul 2008 15:59
Last Modified:29 Feb 2012 09:29

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