Erythropoietin Levels Increase during Cerebral Malaria and Correlate with Heme, Interleukin-10 and Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha in India

Citation: Dalko E, Tchitchek N, Pays L, Herbert F, Cazenave P-A, Ravindran B, et al. (2016) Erythropoietin Levels Increase during Cerebral Malaria and Correlate with Heme, Interleukin-10 and Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha in India. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0158420. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158420
Published: July 21, 2016

Abstract
Plasmodium_falciparum_01-215pxCerebral malaria (CM) caused by Plasmodium falciparum parasites often leads to the death of infected patients or to persisting neurological sequelae despite anti-parasitic treatments. Erythropoietin (EPO) was recently suggested as a potential adjunctive treatment for CM. However diverging results were obtained in patients from Sub-Saharan countries infected with P. falciparum. In this study, we measured EPO levels in the plasma of well-defined groups of P. falciparum-infected patients, from the state of Odisha in India, with mild malaria (MM), CM, or severe non-CM (NCM). EPO levels were then correlated with biological parameters, including parasite biomass, heme, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-10, interferon gamma-induced protein (IP)-10, and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 plasma concentrations by Spearman’s rank and multiple correlation analyses. We found a significant increase in EPO levels with malaria severity degree, and more specifically during fatal CM. In addition, EPO levels were also found correlated positively with heme, TNF-α, IL-10, IP-10 and MCP-1 during CM. We also found a significant multivariate correlation between EPO, TNF-α, IL-10, IP-10 MCP-1 and heme, suggesting an association of EPO with a network of immune factors in CM patients. The contradictory levels of circulating EPO reported in CM patients in India when compared to Africa highlights the need for the optimization of adjunctive treatments according to the targeted population.

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