Bacteremia and malaria coinfection is a common and life-threatening condition in children residing in sub-Saharan Africa. We previously showed that coinfection with Gram negative (G[-]) enteric Bacilli and Plasmodium falciparum (Pf[+]) was associated with reduced high-density parasitemia (HDP, >10,000 parasites/μL), enhanced respiratory distress, and severe anemia. Since inflammatory mediators are largely unexplored in such coinfections, circulating cytokines were determined in four groups of children (n = 206, aged <3 yrs): healthy; Pf[+] alone; G[-] coinfected; and G[+] coinfected. Staphylococcus aureus and non-Typhi Salmonella were the most frequently isolated G[+] and G[-] organisms, respectively. Coinfected children, particularly those with G[-] pathogens, had lower parasite burden (peripheral and geometric mean parasitemia and HDP). In addition, both coinfected groups had increased IL-4, IL-5, IL-7, IL-12, IL-15, IL-17, IFN-γ, and IFN-α and decreased TNF-α relative to malaria alone. Children with G[-] coinfection had higher IL-1β and IL-1Ra and lower IL-10 than the Pf[+] group and higher IFN-γ than the G[+] group. To determine how the immune response to malaria regulates parasitemia, cytokine production was investigated with a multiple mediation model. Cytokines with the greatest mediational impact on parasitemia were IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, and IFN-γ. Results here suggest that enhanced immune activation, especially in G[-] coinfected children, acts to reduce malaria parasite burden.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology