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Hematology - Infectious Diseases - Pediatrics and Child Health - Public Health and Epidemiology

Severe Childhood Malaria Syndromes Defined by Plasma Proteome Profiles
Published: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Author: Florence Burté et al.

by Florence Burté, Biobele J. Brown, Adebola E. Orimadegun, Wasiu A. Ajetunmobi, Francesca Battaglia, Barry K. Ely, Nathaniel K. Afolabi, Dimitrios Athanasakis, Francis Akinkunmi, Olayinka Kowobari, Samuel Omokhodion, Kikelomo Osinusi, Felix O. Akinbami, Wuraola A. Shokunbi, Olugbemiro Sodeinde, Delmiro Fernandez-Reyes


Cerebral malaria (CM) and severe malarial anemia (SMA) are the most serious life-threatening clinical syndromes of Plasmodium falciparum infection in childhood. Therefore it is important to understand the pathology underlying the development of CM and SMA, as opposed to uncomplicated malaria (UM). Different host responses to infection are likely to be reflected in plasma proteome-patterns that associate with clinical status and therefore provide indicators of the pathogenesis of these syndromes.

Methods and Findings

Plasma and comprehensive clinical data for discovery and validation cohorts were obtained as part of a prospective case-control study of severe childhood malaria at the main tertiary hospital of the city of Ibadan, an urban and densely populated holoendemic malaria area in Nigeria. A total of 946 children participated in this study. Plasma was subjected to high-throughput proteomic profiling. Statistical pattern-recognition methods were used to find proteome-patterns that defined disease groups. Plasma proteome-patterns accurately distinguished children with CM and with SMA from those with UM, and from healthy or severely ill malaria-negative children.


We report that an accurate definition of the major childhood malaria syndromes can be achieved using plasma proteome-patterns. Our proteomic data can be exploited to understand the pathogenesis of the different childhood severe malaria syndromes.