To relate nutritional status and concentrations of immunoglobulins and cytokines in children with malaria from two areas with different risk of malaria transmission.
We performed a descriptive, cross-sectional study comparing children aged 4-11 years old from two areas with different risk of malaria transmission in Colombia. The sample consisted of 66 children from El Bagre and Zaragoza (high transmission area) and 62 children from Turbo (low transmission area). To determine the risk of undernutrition, height/weight, age/height and weight/age indexes were calculated, and serum concentrations of interleukin-10 (IL-10), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), total IgE and malaria-specific IgE were measured.
In the high transmission area, concentrations of total and specific IgE and of TNF-alpha were significantly higher. In both areas, the values obtained for total IgE (84 %), specific-IgE (32 %), TNF-alpha (72 %) and IL-10 (84 %) were higher than standard values. Anthropometric indicators revealed acute undernutrition (wasting) in 33 %, chronic undernutrition (stunting) in 52 %, and global undernutrition in 56 % of the population.
Malaria and protein-energy malnutrition were highly prevalent in both areas. In children from the low transmission area, stunting was significantly greater. In the high transmission area, the mean total IgE was twice that found in the low transmission area and no association with nutritional status was observed. Levels of specific IgE did not differ according to the species of Plasmodium infection.
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