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BACKGROUND: The interaction between the pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines is known to play key roles in the immune response to infectious diseases. The pathogenesis of malaria parasitemia, including its progression to symptomatic manifestation, also seems to be strongly related to this interplay.
AIM: The study evaluated the plasma levels of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and interleukin-6 (IL)-6, which are pro- inflammatory cytokines, and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), which is an anti-inflammatory cytokine; in the 6–60 months age-group children, when infected with Plasmodium falciparum, to show their relevance in the development of immunity against malaria.
METHODS: The study was a cross-sectional study involving children with uncomplicated malaria parasitemia. In the study, malaria parasitemia was confirmed by microscopy, using the Giemsa stain. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method was used to evaluate the plasma levels of IFN-γ, IL-6, and TGF-β in the under-five children infected with P. falciparum, and their counterparts who were not infected with the parasite.
RESULTS: The median plasma IFN-γ, IL-6, and TGF-β levels in participants with malaria parasitemia were 225.15 pg/ mL, 123.31 pg/mL, and 2091.02 pg/mL, respectively. The difference in the plasma levels of TGF-β in the infected and uninfected participants was statistically significant with a p < 0.001.
CONCLUSION: The findings in this work showed that malaria parasitemia in under-five children is associated with significant depression in the plasma level of TGF-β when compared to their uninfected counterparts.
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