Pregnancy-associated malaria (PAM) can lead to severe complications for both mother and baby. Certain placental cytokine/chemokine profiles have been shown to reflect poor pregnancy outcomes, including maternal anemia and low birth weight. In intervillous plasma samples from 400 Beninese women living in an area where Plasmodium falciparum is endemic, we quantified 16 cytokines/chemokines. We assessed their profiles in groups with PAM, with maternal anemia, with preterm births, or with a low birth weight for gestational age. Repeated ultrasound measurements ensured that prematurity and low birth weight were highly accurate. Preliminary analyses revealed trends for lower cytokine/chemokine concentrations in placental plasma associated both with babies with low birth weight for gestational age and with P. falciparum infection during pregnancy, while, as a function of the latter, the concentration of gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-inducible protein 10 (IP-10) was higher. Multivariate analyses showed that (i) higher placental plasma interleukin-10 (IL-10) levels were associated with P. falciparum infections and (ii) independently of P. falciparum infections, lower concentrations of both IFN-γ and IL-5 were associated with low birth weight for gestational age. Our data further strengthen the idea that IL-10 and IP-10 could be useful diagnostic markers of P. falciparum infection during pregnancy. The concentrations of cytokines/chemokines in placental plasma may represent previously unrecognized markers of poor fetal growth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases