Circulating IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-alpha and IL-10/IL-6 and IL-10/TNF-alpha ratio profiles of polyparasitized individuals in rural and urban areas of gabon

Noé Patrick M’bondoukwé, Reinne Moutongo, Komi Gbédandé, Jacques Mari Ndong Ngomo, Tatiana Hountohotegbé, Rafiou Adamou, Jeanne Vanessa Koumba Lengongo, Kowir Pambou Bello, Denise Patricia Mawili-Mboumba, Adrian John Frederick Luty, Marielle Karine Bouyou-Akotet

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Malaria, blood-borne filarial worms and intestinal parasites are all endemic in Gabon. This geographical co-distribution leads to polyparasitism and, consequently, the possibility of immune-mediated interactions among different parasite species. Intestinal protozoa and helminths could modulate antimalarial immunity, for example, thereby potentially increasing or reducing susceptibility to malaria. The aim of the study was to compare the cytokine levels and cytokine ratios according to parasitic profiles of the population to determine the potential role of co-endemic parasites in the malaria susceptibility of populations. Blood and stool samples were collected during cross-sectional surveys in five provinces of Gabon. Parasitological diagnosis was performed to detect plasmodial parasites, Loa loa, Mansonella perstans, intestinal helminths (STHs) and protozoan parasites. Nested PCR was used to detect submicroscopic plasmodial infection in individuals with negative blood smears. A cytometric bead array was used to quantify interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α in the plasma of subjects with different parasitological profiles. Median IL-6 and IL-10 levels and the median IL-10/TNF-α ratio were all significantly higher among individuals with Plasmodium (P.) falciparum infection than among other participants (p<0.0001). The median TNF-α level and IL-10/IL-6 ratio were higher in subjects with STHs (p = 0.09) and P. falciparum-intestinal protozoa co-infection (p = 0.04), respectively. IL-6 (r =-0.37; P<0.01) and IL-10 (r =-0.37; P<0.01) levels and the IL-10/TNF-α ratio (r =-0.36; P<0.01) correlated negatively with age. Among children under five years old, the IL-10/TNF-α and IL-10/IL-6 ratios were higher in those with intestinal protozoan infections than in uninfected children. The IL-10/TNF-α ratio was also higher in children aged 5–15 years and in adults harbouring blood-borne filariae than in their control counterparts, whereas the IL-10/IL-6 ratio was lower in those aged 5–15 years with filariae and intestinal parasites but higher in adults with intestinal parasitic infections. Asymptomatic malaria is associated with a strong polarization towards a regulatory immune response, presenting high circulating levels of IL-10. P. falcip-arum/intestinal protozoa co-infections were associated with an enhanced IL-10 response. Immunity against malaria could differ according to age and carriage of other parasites. Helminths and intestinal protozoa can play a role in the high susceptibility to malaria currently observed in some areas of Gabon, but further investigations are necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0010308
JournalPLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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