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Peripheral blood mononuclear cells derived from grand multigravidae display a distinct cytokine profile in response to P. falciparum infected erythrocytes.

Ludlow LE, Hasang W, Umbers AJ, Forbes EK, Ome M, Unger HW, Mueller I, Siba PM, Jaworowski A, Rogerson SJ

  • Journal PloS one

  • Published 22 Jan 2014

  • Volume 9

  • ISSUE 1

  • Pagination e86160

  • DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0086160


Immunopathology of placental malaria is most significant in women in their first pregnancy especially in endemic areas, due to a lack of protective immunity to Plasmodium falciparum, which is acquired in successive pregnancies. In some studies (but not all), grand multigravidae (defined as 5 or more pregnancies, G5-7) are more susceptible to poor birth outcomes associated with malaria compared to earlier gravidities. By comparing peripheral cellular responses in primigravidae (G1), women in their second to fourth pregnancy (G2-4) and grand multigravidae we sought to identify key components of the dysregulated immune response. PBMC were exposed to CS2-infected erythrocytes (IE) opsonised with autologous plasma or unopsonised IE, and cytokine and chemokine secretion was measured. Higher levels of opsonising antibody were present in plasma derived from multigravid compared to primigravid women. Significant differences in the levels of cytokines and chemokines secreted in response to IE were observed. Less IL-10, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF but more CXCL8, CCL8, IFNγ and CXCL10 were detected in G5-7 compared to G2-4 women. Our study provides fresh insight into the modulation of peripheral blood cell function and effects on the balance between host protection and immunopathology during placental malaria infection.