UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Department of Pediatrics

Publication Date


Document Type



Cytokines; Female; Fetal Growth Retardation; HIV-1; Hemeproteins; Humans; Immunohistochemistry; Infant, Newborn; Malaria, Falciparum; Obstetric Labor, Premature; Placenta; Pregnancy; Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic; Pregnancy Outcome; RNA, Messenger; RNA, Viral; Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research | Immunology and Infectious Disease


Malaria infections during pregnancy can lead to the delivery of low-birth-weight infants. In this study, cytokine mRNA was measured in placentas from 23 malaria-infected and 21 uninfected primigravid women who had delivered in Mangochi, Malawi, a region with a high rate of transmission of falciparum malaria. Significantly increased expression of interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and decreased expression of IL-6 and transforming growth factor-beta1 were found in malaria-infected compared with uninfected placentas. TNF-alpha and IL-8 were produced by maternally derived hemozoin-laden placental macrophages. Increased TNF-alpha expression was associated with increased placental hemozoin concentrations. Increased TNF-alpha or IL-8 expression in the placenta was associated with intrauterine growth retardation but not with preterm delivery. The results suggest that malaria infections induce a potentially harmful proinflammatory response in the placenta.

Rights and Permissions

© 1999 by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

DOI of Published Version



J Infect Dis. 1999 Dec;180(6):1987-93. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of infectious diseases

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed



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