Intraleucocyte malaria pigment in asymptomatic and uncomplicated malaria.
While malaria pigment or haemozoin is known to be an end product of haemoglobin digestion by the malaria parasite, its clinical significance is just beginning to be elucidated. We have studied the distribution of intraleucocyte malaria pigment in 92 children, consisting of 32 children with asymptomatic malaria, 32 children with mild or uncomplicated malaria and 28 children with no malaria. Over 90% of children in each of the three groups had pigment-containing monocytes and the numbers of pigment-containing monocytes were not significantly different between the three groups. While over 90% of children in both the asymptomatic malaria and uncomplicated malaria groups had pigment-containing neutrophils, 71.4% of the no malaria group had such neutrophils. The numbers of pigment containing neutrophils was highest in the uncomplicated malaria group, followed by the asymptomatic malaria group with the no malaria group having the least numbers. The pigmented neutrophil: monocyte ratio followed the same pattern. It was concluded that the number of pigment-containing neutrophils and the pigmented neutrophil:monocyte ratio may be a marker of the severity of malaria infection when one considers the conditions: no malaria, asymptomatic malaria and mild malaria. Further work to verify this hypothesis across the full spectrum of the manifestations of malaria infection is needed.
Amodu, OK; Adeyemo, AA; Olumese, PE; Ketiku, O; Gbadegesin, RA
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