Biochemical and haematological changes in pregnant malaria patients and pregnant non-malaria women

by M. U. Eteng(1), A. O. Ekwe(1), E. U. Eyong(1), H. A. Ibekwe(1), A. O. Abolaji(2), F. C. Onwuka(1), N. C. Osuchukwu(3) and N. C. Essien(4)


Malaria has been known to alter hematological and biochemical parameters during pregnancy and is
one of the causes of anemia in pregnancy. In a cross sectional study, changes in hematological and
selected biochemical parameters were investigated in pregnant malarial patients (17) compared with 20
healthy pregnant non-malarial women (controls). Assay for transferrin (TF), total iron binding capacity
(TIBC), serum iron, protein, cholesterol and triglyceride were evaluated on sera while hemoglobin
concentration, total white blood cell count were carried out on whole blood using standard laboratory
methods and enzyme colorimetric kits. The mean values of serum transferrin (4.31 ± 0.54 g/l), TIBC
112.45 ± 14.22 µmol/L serum iron 29.64 ± 2.78 µmol/L in pregnant malaria parasitaemic group were
significantly (p < 0.01) higher than the respective values of 3.13 ± 0.45 g/l, 81.70 ± 11.70 µmol/L and 21.36 ± 2.41 µmol/L in the control. Total serum cholesterol (4.28 ± 1.1 mmol/L) and triglycerides (1.56 ± 0.14 mmol/L) were significantly (p < 0.01) elevated in the pregnant malarial parasitaemic group compared with the control values of 2.9 5 ± 0.71 and 1.17 ± 0.28 mmol/L, respectively. The white blood cell (WBC) count did not show any significant change and there were no changes in hemoglobin, transferrin saturation as well as serum protein in pregnant-malaria group compared with the control. The results suggest that malaria may aggravate the hypertransferinaemia and hyperlipidemia syndrome of human pregnancy. Key words: Pregnancy, malaria, hematological indices, transferrin, cholesterol.


1 – Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Calabar, P. M. B. 1115, Calabar,
Cross River State, Nigeria.
2 – Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Technology, Covenant University, P. M. B. 1023, Canaan
Land, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria.
3 – Department of Public Health, Faculty of Allied Medical Sciences, College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar.
P. M. B. 1115, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
4 – Department of Nursing Science, University of Calabar, P. M. B. 1115,Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

Prof Mbeh Eteng

Mbeh Eteng is a Professor of Biochemistry in the Faculty of University of Calabar. He holds a Ph.D from the University of Calabar (2000). He was Dean of Faculty of Basic Medical Science (2012-2016) and Chairman Committee of Deans (2014-2015). Member Governing Board UCTH, Calabar (2018 -till date). Fellow, Institute of Co-operate Administration. His current area of research is on malaria/prostrate hyperplaxia and medicinal plants research and use in management. He has successfully supervised 25 Ph.Ds.
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