The Degree of Plasmodium Falciparum Parasitaemia Correlates Strongly with Serum Transferrin in Patients with Malaria

by M. U. Eteng, R. R. Ettarh

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SUMMARY
Objective: Changes in iron status in Plasmodium falciparum malaria and the relationship between serum transferrin and the degree of parasitaemia were studied. Patients and Methods: Blood samples were obtained from 42 adults infected with P. falciparum and 43 normal healthy adults. Iron status was assessed using serum transferrin, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), transferrin saturation, serum iron, haemotacrit (PCV) and haemoglobin concentration.
Results: Serum transferrin (376.0 ± 80.2 mg/100m1) and TIBC (545.2 ± 116.3 ug,/100m1) in the parasitaemic group were significantly (P < 0:001) higher than the respective values (282.5 ± 85.5 mg/100ml and 409.3 ±92.0 ug/100m1) in the control (non-parasitaemic) subjects. Serum iron was also significantly (P < 0.01) elevated in the parasitaemic group (133.0 ± 28.3 ug/100m1) compared with the control healthy subjects (117.4 ± 47 ug/100m1). However, haemoglobin and haematocrit values were significantly lower in infected subjects relative to control. There was a positive correlation serum transferrin and the degree of parasitaemia (r = 0.90; P<0001).
Conclusion: The results indicate that the degree of P. falciparum parasitaemia correlates’ strongly with serum transferrin concentration. The elevation in serum transferrin with increase in the degree of parasitaemia may be due to the need to transport the iron released as a result of increased haemolysis caused by the parasites. Niger Med .1, 2001, Vol. 40(1); 4-6
KEYWORDS: Serum transferrin, Plasmodium falciparum, malaria.

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Prof Mbeh Eteng

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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.
Get to know more about him and access more of his publications through his personal knowledgebase – http://www.mbeheteng.com.ng

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