Eotaxin-2 and eotaxin-3 in malaria exposure and pregnancy

Published: November 15, 2022


Mancebo-Pérez C, Vidal M, Aguilar R, Barrios D, Bardají A, Ome-Kaius M, Menéndez C, Rogerson SJ, Dobaño C, Moncunill G, Requena P. Eotaxin-2 and eotaxin-3 in malaria exposure and pregnancy. Malar J. 2022 Nov 15;21(1):336. doi: 10.1186/s12936-022-04372-7. PMID: 36380370; PMCID: PMC9667598.


Background: Eotaxin-1 concentrations in plasma have been inversely associated with malaria exposure, malaria infection and pregnancy, but the effect of these conditions on the levels of the related chemokines eotaxin-2 and eotaxin-3 remains unknown.

Methods: Eotaxin-2 and -3 concentrations were measured in 310 peripheral or placental plasma samples from pregnant and non-pregnant individuals from Papua New Guinea (malaria-endemic country) and Spain (malaria-naïve individuals) with previous data on eotaxin-1 concentrations. Correlations between eotaxin concentrations were examined with the Spearman’s test. Differences in eotaxin concentrations among groups were evaluated with the Kruskal-Wallis or Mann Whitney tests. The pairwise Wilcoxon test was performed to compare eotaxin-2 concentration between peripheral and placental matched plasmas. Univariable and multivariable linear regression models were estimated to assess the association between eotaxins and Plasmodium infection or gestational age.

Results: Eotaxin-2 concentrations in plasma showed a weak positive correlation with eotaxin-3 (rho = 0.35, p < 0.05) concentrations. Eotaxin-2 concentrations in the malaria-exposed non-pregnant group were significantly lower than the in the malaria-naive non-pregnant and the malaria-exposed pregnant groups. Eotaxin-3 plasma concentrations were lower in malaria-exposed than in non-exposed groups (p < 0.05), but no differences were found associated to pregnancy. Eotaxin-2 and eotaxin-3 plasma concentrations were negatively correlated with anti-Plasmodium IgG levels: PfDBL5ε-IgG (rhoEo2 = – 0.35, p = 0.005; rhoEo3 =- 0.37, p = 0.011), and eotaxin-3 was negatively correlated with PfDBL3x-IgG levels (rhoEo3 =- 0.36; p = 0.011). Negative correlations of eotaxin-2 and 3 in plasma were also observed with atypical memory B cells (rhoEo2 = – 0.37, p < 0.001; rhoEo3= – 0.28, p = 0.006), a B cell subset expanded in malaria-exposed individuals. In addition, a borderline negative association was observed between eotaxin-3 concentrations and Plasmodium infection (adjusted effect estimate, β = – 0.279, 95% CI – 0.605; 0.047, p = 0.091). Moreover, eotaxin-2 placental concentrations were significantly increased compared to peripheral concentrations in the malaria-exposed pregnant group whereas the contrary was observed in the non-exposed pregnant group (p < 0.005).

Conclusion: Although a clear epidemiological negative association is observed between eotaxins concentrations and malaria exposure and/or infection, pregnancy may alter this association for eotaxin-2. Further research is required to understand the role of these chemokines in this disease and in combination with pregnancy.

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