Abstract
LEVELS OF EOSINOPHIL AND MICROPHAGE-SECRETED CYTOKINES IN PLASMODIA- INFECTED CHILDREN IN PORT HARCOURT, NIGERIA

*Atoukaritou O. Osuosa, Easter Godwin Nwokah and Smart Enoch Amala

ABSTRACT

Infection with plasmodia and the attendant complications, including hyper-secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, remain a leading cause of high morbidities and mortalities among children in African countries and moreso in Nigeria. This study was aimed at assessing the levels of some eosinophil and macrophage-secreted cytokines (IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-10 and TNF – alpha) in children between 2-12 years of age infected with malaria parasite in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Blood samples were collected from 352 children (215 test subjects and 137 controls) who were visiting the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, New Mile One Hospital and Rivers State College of Health Science and Technology Health Centre, Port Harcourt. Thick blood films were stained with Giemsa method and parasitemia were determined. The cytokines levels were estimated using the ELISA machine (Stat fax-2100) and result reported according to the manufacturers manual. Out of 352 samples that were examined, 215 were infected with various degrees of parasitemia, while the remaining 137 were not infected. There was no case of complication or severe anaemia in malaria as hemoglobin (Hb) of < 5g/dl or packed cell volume (PCV) of < 15% with parasitemia of > 250,000 parasites/ul. On the cytokines, regression analysis demonstrated a negative relationship between parasite density and IL-10 (p=0.09), IL-10 and IL-6 (p= 0.017) while positive relationship were seen between IL-6 parasite density with a p-value of 0.000, TNF-a and parasite density with a p-value of 0.1248, IL-10 and IL-1beta with p-value of 0.4582. The cytokines also showed mean values such as 139.33 ± 7.7, 17.74 ± 1.36, 466.17 ± 21.59 and 66.57 ± 4.03 for IL-10, IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha respectively. The raised plasma level of cytokine, IL-10 among the subjects in this investigation could be an advantage as it inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines that are triggered by malaria parasites or a disadvantage as it down regulates the response of the immune system.

Keywords: Cytokines, Plasmodia, Malaria.


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