Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Plasma cytokine profiles associated with rhodesiense sleeping sickness and falciparum malaria co-infection in North Eastern Uganda

  • Nsubuga, Julius1
  • Kato, Charles Drago1
  • Nanteza, Ann1
  • Matovu, Enock1
  • Alibu, Vincent Pius2
  • 1 Makerere University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources & Bio-security, Kampala, Uganda , Kampala (Uganda)
  • 2 Makerere University, College of Natural Sciences, Kampala, Uganda , Kampala (Uganda)
Published Article
Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Oct 30, 2019
DOI: 10.1186/s13223-019-0377-7
Springer Nature


BackgroundImmunological Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) studies often exclude malaria, although both infections overlap in specific endemic areas. During this co-infection, it is not known whether this parasitic interaction induces synergistic or antagonistic cytokine response among humans. This study determined prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria among Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense HAT and plasma cytokine profile levels associated with HAT and/or malaria infections.MethodsParticipants were recruited at Lwala hospital in north eastern Uganda: healthy controls (30), malaria (28), HAT (17), HAT and malaria (15) diagnosed by microscopy and PCR was carried out for parasite species identification. Plasma cytokine levels of Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), Tumour Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-α), Interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10 and Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-β) were measured by sandwich Enzyme-Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay and data statistically analysed using Graphpad Prism 6.0.ResultsThe prevalence of P. falciparum malaria among T. rhodesiense HAT cases was high (46.8%). Malaria and/or HAT cases presented significant higher plasma cytokine levels of IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10 and TGF-β than healthy controls (P < 0.05). Levels of IFN-γ, IL-6 and IL-10 were significantly elevated in HAT over malaria (P < 0.05) but no significant difference in TNF-α and TGF-β between HAT and malaria (P > 0.05). Co-infection expressed significantly higher plasma IFN-γ, IL-6, and IL-10 levels than malaria (P < 0.05) but no significant difference with HAT mono-infection (P > 0.05). The TNF-α level was significantly elevated in co-infection over HAT or malaria mono-infections (P < 0.05) unlike TGF-β level. Significant positive correlations were identified between IFN-γ verses TNF-α and IL-6 verses IL-10 in co-infection (Spearman’s P < 0.05).ConclusionsThe T. b. rhodesiense significantly induced the cytokine response more than P. falciparum infections. Co-infection led to synergistic stimulation of pro-inflammatory (IFN-γ, TNF-α), and anti-inflammatory (IL-6, and IL-10) cytokine responses relative to malaria mono-infection. Level of TNF-α partially indicates the effect induced by T. b. rhodesiense and P. falciparum mono-infections or a synergistic interaction of co-infections which may have adverse effects on pathogenesis, prognosis and resolution of the infections.Trial registration VCD-IRC/021, 26/08/2011; HS 1089, 16/01/2012

Report this publication


Seen <100 times