Circulating plasma receptors for tumour necrosis factor in malawian children with severe falciparum malaria

M. E. Molyneux, H. Engelmann, Terrie E. Taylor, Jack J. Wirima, Dan Aderka, David Wallach, Georges E. Grau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) concentrations are increased in the plasma during a malarial illness, and are highest in patients with severe or fatal disease. We have studied the plasma concentrations of two soluble receptors (sTNF-R1 and sTNF-R2), which act as binding proteins for TNF, in children with falciparum malaria. In 52 Malawian children with malaria, plasma concentrations of both sTNF-R1 (mean (S.D.) 4759(2552) pg/ml) and sTNF-R2 (59077(37102) pg/ml) were greatly increased when compared with levels of convalescence (sTNF-R1 718(68), and sTNF-R2 8015(7021) pg/ml), and in controls without malaria (486(1353) and 4380(2168)). Concentrations of both receptors correlated with plasma levels of TNF measured by immunoradiometric assay, but not with those of another cytokine, IL-6. The mean plasma concentrations of both immunoreactive TNF and soluble TNF receptors were greater in patients with cerebral malaria than those with uncomplicated malaria. Despite high levels of immunoreactive TNF in the plasma of patients acutely ill with malaria, no bioactive TNF could be detected in these patients by the WEHI cell bioassay. Soluble TNF receptors are present in greatly increased concentrations in the plasma of patients with malaria and may play a role in mediating or modulating the pathogenetic effects of the cytokine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-609
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Binding proteins
  • Pathogenesis
  • Receptors
  • Severe malaria
  • Tumour necrosis factor


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