Journal Article

Depressed Natural Killer Cell Cytotoxicity against <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i>–Infected Erythrocytes during First Pregnancies

Marielle K. Bouyou-Akotet, Saadou Issifou, Jean F. Meye, Kombila Maryvonne, Edouard Ngou-Milama, Adrian J. F. Luty, Peter G. Kremsner and Elie Mavoungou

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 38, issue 3, pages 342-347
Published in print February 2004 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online February 2004 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/380646
Depressed Natural Killer Cell Cytotoxicity against Plasmodium falciparum–Infected Erythrocytes during First Pregnancies

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We measured natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity and cortisol and prolactin concentrations in peripheral venous blood samples obtained from pregnant Gabonese women at the time of delivery. The NK cell–mediated cytotoxicity against Plasmodium falciparum–infected erythrocytes in vitro was lower in samples obtained from primiparous women than in samples obtained from multiparous women; cortisol concentrations were significantly higher in primiparous women than in multiparous women, and prolactin concentrations were significantly lower. The highest cortisol concentrations were found in the plasma of P. falciparum–infected primiparous women. A positive correlation was found between cortisol concentration and parasite load; an inverse correlation was found between the magnitude of the NK cell cytolytic effect and cortisol production. A positive correlation was found between this effect and prolactin production. Thus, depressed NK cell cytotoxicity against P. falciparum–infected erythrocytes is correlated with high cortisol concentrations and may contribute to increased susceptibility to malaria during pregnancy.

Journal Article.  4137 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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