Antioxidant status and acute malaria in children in Kampala, Uganda.
Metzger A., Mukasa G., Shankar AH., Ndeezi G., Melikian G., Semba RD.
Although antioxidant status has been implicated in the pathogenesis of malaria, these factors need further characterization. A longitudinal study was conducted involving 273 children 1-10 years of age with acute, uncomplicated malaria in Kampala, Uganda. Plasma vitamin A, carotenoids, and vitamin E were measured at enrollment and on day 7. Malaria parasitemia was measured at enrollment, on day 3, and on day 7. Malaria parasitemia had completely cleared in 57.1% and 85.3% of children by day 3 and day 7, respectively. Plasma vitamin A, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein/zeaxanthin, and vitamin E were depressed at enrollment and increased by day 7. Multivariate analyses showed that higher plasma lycopene concentrations at enrollment were associated with clearance of parasitemia between enrollment and day 3 (odds ratio = 1.46, 95% confidence interval = 1.07-2.06, per 0.10 micromol/L of lycopene). This study suggests that children with acute malaria have depressed plasma concentrations of antioxidants, and that higher plasma lycopene is associated with more rapid clearance of malaria parasitemia.