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Macrophage migration inhibitory factor is associated with mortality in cerebral malaria patients in India

Author(s): Jain Vidhan | McClintock Shannon | Nagpal Avinash | Dash Aditya | Stiles Jonathan | Udhayakumar Venkatachalam | Singh Neeru | Lucchi Naomi

Journal: BMC Research Notes
ISSN 1756-0500

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 36;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Abstract Background Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a multifunctional cytokine implicated in the pathogenesis of a number of human diseases including inflammatory neurological diseases. Its role in the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria is unknown. Cerebral malaria is a life-threatening complication of falciparum malaria with approximately 20%–30% of patients dying despite appropriate anti-malarial treatment. The reason for this cerebral malaria mortality is still unknown although host proinflammatory factors have been shown to be evidently important. The current study investigated the role of circulating MIF in the pathogenesis and outcomes of cerebral malaria. Findings Three categories of subjects contributed to this study: healthy controls subjects, mild malaria patients, and cerebral malaria patients. The cerebral malaria patients were further grouped into cerebral malaria survivors and cerebral malaria non-survivors. MIF levels in the peripheral blood plasma, obtained at the time of enrollment, were measured using standard ELISA methods. In logistic regression on cerebral malaria patients, log MIF levels were found to be significantly associated with fatal outcome (odds ratio 4.0; 95%CI 1.6, 9.8; p = 0.003). In multinomial logistic regression log MIF levels were found to be significantly associated with patient category (p = 0.004). Conclusion This study suggests that elevated levels of MIF in the peripheral blood of cerebral malaria patients may be associated with fatal outcomes.

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