Oxidative Stress in Children with Severe Malaria

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Fifty cases of severe malaria were studied for their oxidant and antioxidant status. Severe anemia (54%) was the most common presentation followed by hyperpyrexia, cerebral malaria and jaundice. Plasma malondialdehyde, protein carbonyl, nitrite, ascorbic acid and copper levels were significantly raised in cases as compared with controls (p < 0.001). Plasma ceruloplasmin, glutathione and superoxide dismutase levels were significantly decreased in children with severe malaria (p < 0.001). Plasma zinc was increased in cases but difference is not statistically significant. Significantly decreased level of nitrites and increased value of glutathione was found in patients with hemoglobinuria and jaundice, respectively. The significantly elevated malondialdehyde and protein carbonyl levels reflect the increased oxidative stress, whereas decreased levels of glutathione and superoxide dismutase point toward utilization of the antioxidants in severe malaria. Thus, changes in oxidants and antioxidants observed suggest the production of reactive oxygen species and their possible role in pathogenesis of severe malaria.

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