Published: July 29, 2020
Jabbarzare M, Njie M, Jaworowski A, Umbers AJ, Ome-Kaius M, Hasang W, Randall LM, Kalionis B, Rogerson SJ. Innate immune responses to malaria-infected erythrocytes in pregnant women: Effects of gravidity, malaria infection, and geographic location. PLoS One. 2020 Jul 29;15(7):e0236375. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0236375.
Malaria in pregnancy causes maternal, fetal and neonatal morbidity and mortality, and maternal innate immune responses are implicated in pathogenesis of these complications. The effects of malaria exposure and obstetric and demographic factors on the early maternal immune response are poorly understood.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cell responses to Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes and phytohemagglutinin were compared between pregnant women from Papua New Guinea (malaria-exposed) with and without current malaria infection and from Australia (unexposed). Elicited levels of inflammatory cytokines at 48 h and 24 h (interferon γ, IFN-γ only) and the cellular sources of IFN-γ were analysed.
Among Papua New Guinean women, microscopic malaria at enrolment did not alter peripheral blood mononuclear cell responses. Compared to samples from Australia, cells from Papua New Guinean women secreted more inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin 1β, interleukin 6 and IFN-γ; p<0.001 for all assays, and more natural killer cells produced IFN-γ in response to infected erythrocytes and phytohemagglutinin. In both populations, cytokine responses were not affected by gravidity, except that in the Papua New Guinean cohort multigravid women had higher IFN-γ secretion at 24 h (p = 0.029) and an increased proportion of IFN-γ+ Vδ2 γδ T cells (p = 0.003). Cytokine levels elicited by a pregnancy malaria-specific CSA binding parasite line, CS2, were broadly similar to those elicited by CD36-binding line P6A1.
Geographic location and, to some extent, gravidity influence maternal innate immunity to malaria.