Innate immune responses to malaria-infected erythrocytes in pregnant women: Effects of gravidity, malaria infection, and geographic location.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: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. METHODS: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 ?, IFN-? only) and the cellular sources of IFN-? were analysed. RESULTS: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-?, interleukin 1?, interleukin 6 and IFN-?; p<0.001 for all assays, and more natural killer cells produced IFN-? 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-? secretion at 24 h (p = 0.029) and an increased proportion of IFN-?+ V?2 ?? 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. CONCLUSIONS:Geographic location and, to some extent, gravidity influence maternal innate immunity to malaria.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>A recent cohort study among Papua New Guinean women surprisingly showed iron deficiency during pregnancy to be associated with increased birth weight. These findings seemingly contradict previous trial evidence that iron supplementation leads to increased birth weight, particularly in iron-deficient women, and hence require explanation.<h4>Main text</h4>We have re-analysed data from a previous trial in Kenya and demonstrated that, because women who were initially iron deficient respond better to iron supplementation, they show an increase in birthweight. There is evidence that this benefit is decreased in iron-replete women, possibly due to the adverse effects of haemoconcentration that can impair oxygen and nutrient transfer across the placenta. The Papua New Guinean results might be explained by a similar differential response to the iron supplements that they all received.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Antenatal iron supplementation should ideally be administered in conjunction with measures to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria given the propensity of pathogenic microorganisms to proliferate in iron-supplemented individuals. However, even where services to prevent and treat malaria are poor, current evidence supports the conclusion that the benefits of universal iron supplementation outweigh its risks. Please see related article: https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-018-1146-z. Please see related article: https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-019-1376-8.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Placental malaria is associated with increased risk of adverse perinatal outcomes. While primigravidity has been reported as a risk factor for placental malaria, little is known regarding the relationship between gravidity, symptomatology and timing of Plasmodium falciparum infection and the development of placental malaria. METHODS:The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the development of placental malaria and gravidity, timing of infection, and presence of symptoms. This is a secondary analysis of data from a double-blind randomized control trial of intermittent preventive therapy during pregnancy in Uganda. Women were enrolled from 12 to 20 weeks gestation and followed through delivery. Exposure to malaria parasites was defined as symptomatic (fever with positive blood smear) or asymptomatic (based on molecular detection of parasitaemia done routinely every 4 weeks). The primary outcome was placental malaria diagnosed by histopathology, placental blood smear, and/or placental blood loop-mediated isothermal amplification. Multivariate analyses were performed using logistic regression models. Subgroup analysis was performed based on the presence of symptomatic malaria, gravidity, and timing of infection. RESULTS:Of the 228 patients with documented maternal infection with malaria parasites during pregnancy, 101 (44.3%) had placental malaria. Primigravidity was strongly associated with placental malaria (aOR 8.90, 95% CI 4.34-18.2, p?<?0.001), and each episode of malaria was associated with over a twofold increase in placental malaria (aOR 2.35, 95% CI 1.69-3.26, p?<?0.001). Among multigravid women, the odds of placental malaria increased by 14% with each advancing week of gestation at first documented infection (aOR 1.14, 95% CI 1.02-1.27, p?=?0.02). When stratified by the presence of symptoms, primigravidity was only associated with placental malaria in asymptomatic women, who had a 12-fold increase in the odds of placental malaria (aOR 12.19, 95% CI 5.23-28.43, p?<?0.001). CONCLUSIONS:Total number of P. falciparum infections in pregnancy is a significant predictor of placental malaria. The importance of timing of infection on the development of placental malaria varies based on gravidity. In primigravidas, earlier asymptomatic infections were more frequently identified in those with placental malaria, whereas in multigravidas, parasitaemias detected later in gestation were associated with placental malaria. Earlier initiation of an effective intermittent preventive therapy may help to prevent placental malaria and improve birth outcomes, particularly in primigravid women.
Project description:<h4>Rationale</h4>Stress-elicited disruption of immunity begins in utero.<h4>Objectives</h4>Associations among prenatal maternal stress and cord blood mononuclear cell (CBMC) cytokine responses were prospectively examined in the Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma Study (n = 557 families).<h4>Methods</h4>Prenatal maternal stress included financial hardship, difficult life circumstances, community violence, and neighborhood/block and housing conditions. Factor analysis produced latent variables representing three contexts: individual stressors and ecological-level strains (housing problems and neighborhood problems), which were combined to create a composite cumulative stress indicator. CBMCs were incubated with innate (lipopolysaccharide, polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid, cytosine-phosphate-guanine dinucleotides, peptidoglycan) and adaptive (tetanus, dust mite, cockroach) stimuli, respiratory syncytial virus, phytohemagglutinin, or medium alone. Cytokines were measured using multiplex ELISAs. Using linear regression, associations among increasing cumulative stress and cytokine responses were examined, adjusting for sociodemographic factors, parity, season of birth, maternal asthma and steroid use, and potential pathway variables (prenatal smoking, birth weight for gestational age).<h4>Measurements and main results</h4>Mothers were primarily minorities (Black [71%], Latino [19%]) with an income less than $15,000 (69%). Mothers with the highest cumulative stress were older and more likely to have asthma and deliver lower birth weight infants. Higher prenatal stress was related to increased IL-8 production after microbial (CpG, PIC, peptidoglycan) stimuli and increased tumor necrosis factor-alpha to microbial stimuli (CpG, PIC). In the adaptive panel, higher stress was associated with increased IL-13 after dust mite stimulation and reduced phytohemagglutinin-induced IFN-gamma.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Prenatal stress was associated with altered innate and adaptive immune responses in CBMCs. Stress-induced perinatal immunomodulation may impact the expression of allergic disease in these children.
Project description:The development of effective malaria vaccines and immune biomarkers of malaria is a high priority for malaria control and elimination. Ags expressed by merozoites of Plasmodium falciparum are likely to be important targets of human immunity and are promising vaccine candidates, but very few Ags have been studied. We developed an approach to assess Ab responses to a comprehensive repertoire of merozoite proteins and investigate whether they are targets of protective Abs. We expressed 91 recombinant proteins, located on the merozoite surface or within invasion organelles, and screened them for quality and reactivity to human Abs. Subsequently, Abs to 46 proteins were studied in a longitudinal cohort of 206 Papua New Guinean children to define Ab acquisition and associations with protective immunity. Ab responses were higher among older children and those with active parasitemia. High-level Ab responses to rhoptry and microneme proteins that function in erythrocyte invasion were identified as being most strongly associated with protective immunity compared with other Ags. Additionally, Abs to new or understudied Ags were more strongly associated with protection than were Abs to current vaccine candidates that have progressed to phase 1 or 2 vaccine trials. Combinations of Ab responses were identified that were more strongly associated with protective immunity than responses to their single-Ag components. This study identifies Ags that are likely to be key targets of protective human immunity and facilitates the prioritization of Ags for further evaluation as vaccine candidates and/or for use as biomarkers of immunity in malaria surveillance and control.
Project description:AIMS:The aim of the present study was to investigate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of coadministered azithromycin (AZI) and piperaquine (PQ) for treating malaria in pregnant Papua New Guinean women. METHODS:Thirty pregnant women (median age 22 years; 16-32 weeks' gestation) were given three daily doses of 1 g AZI plus 960 mg PQ tetraphosphate with detailed monitoring/blood sampling over 42 days. Plasma AZI and PQ were assayed using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography, respectively. Pharmacokinetic analysis was by population-based compartmental models. RESULTS:The treatment was well tolerated. The median (interquartile range) increase in the rate-corrected electrocardiographic QT interval 4 h postdose [12 (6-26) ms(0) (.5) ] was similar to that found in previous studies of AZI given in pregnancy with other partner drugs. Six women with asymptomatic malaria cleared their parasitaemias within 72 h. Two apararasitaemic women developed late uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum infections on Days 42 and 83. Compared with previous pregnancy studies, the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC0-? ) for PQ [38818 (24354-52299) ?g h l(-1) ] was similar to published values but there was a 52% increase in relative bioavailability with each dose. The AUC0-? for AZI [46799 (43526-49462) ?g h l(-1) ] was at least as high as reported for higher-dose regimens, suggesting saturable absorption and/or concentration-dependent tissue uptake and clearance from the central compartment. CONCLUSIONS:AZI-PQ appears to be well tolerated and safe in pregnancy. Based on the present/other data, total AZI doses higher than 3 g for the treatment and prevention of malaria may be unnecessary in pregnant women, while clearance of parasitaemia could improve the relative bioavailability of PQ.
Project description:Intermittent preventive treatment with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and SP plus azithromycin (SPAZ) reduces low birthweight (<2,500?g) in women without malarial and reproductive tract infections. This study investigates the impact of SPAZ on associations between plasma biomarkers of inflammation and angiogenesis and adverse pregnancy outcomes in 2,012 Papua New Guinean women. Concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), ?-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP), soluble endoglin (sEng), soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) and placental growth factor (PlGF) were measured at enrolment and delivery in a trial comparing SPAZ to SP plus chloroquine (SPCQ). At antenatal enrolment higher CRP (adjusted odds ratio 1.52; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03-2.25), sEng (4.35; 1.77, 10.7) and sFlt1 (2.21; 1.09, 4.48) were associated with preterm birth, and higher sEng with low birthweight (1.39; 1.11,3.37), in SPCQ recipients only. Increased enrolment sFlt1:PlGF ratios associated with LBW in all women (1.46; 1.11, 1.90). At delivery, higher AGP levels were strongly associated with low birthweight, preterm birth and small-for-gestational age babies in the SPCQ arm only. Restricting analyses to women without malaria infection did not materially alter these relationships. Women receiving SPAZ had lower delivery AGP and CRP levels (p?<?0.001). SPAZ may protect against adverse pregnancy outcomes by reducing inflammation and preventing its deleterious consequences, including dysregulation of placental angiogenesis, in women with and without malarial infection.
Project description:Purpose of Review:Placental malaria is the primary mechanism through which malaria in pregnancy causes adverse perinatal outcomes. This review summarizes recent work on the significance, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and prevention of placental malaria. Recent Findings:Placental malaria, characterized by the accumulation of Plasmodium-infected red blood cells in the placental intervillous space, leads to adverse perinatal outcomes such as stillbirth, low birth weight, preterm birth, and small-for-gestational-age neonates. Placental inflammatory responses may be primary drivers of these complications. Associated factors contributing to adverse outcomes include maternal gravidity, timing of perinatal infection, and parasite burden. Summary:Placental malaria is an important cause of adverse birth outcomes in endemic regions. The main strategy to combat this is intermittent preventative treatment in pregnancy; however, increasing drug resistance threatens the efficacy of this approach. There are studies dissecting the inflammatory response to placental malaria, alternative preventative treatments, and in developing a vaccine for placental malaria.
Project description:A vaccine to eliminate malaria would need a multi-stage and multi-species composition to achieve robust protection, but the lack of knowledge about antigen targets and mechanisms of protection precludes the development of fully efficacious malaria vaccines, especially for Plasmodium vivax (Pv). Pregnant women constitute a risk population who would greatly benefit from a vaccine preventing the adverse events of Plasmodium infection during gestation. We hypothesized that functional immune responses against putative targets of naturally acquired immunity to malaria and vaccine candidates will be associated with protection against malaria infection and/or poor outcomes during pregnancy. We measured (i) IgG responses to a large panel of Pv and Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) antigens, (ii) the capacity of anti-Pv ligand Duffy binding protein (PvDBP) antibodies to inhibit binding to Duffy antigen, and (iii) cellular immune responses to two Pv antigens, in a subset of 1,056 pregnant women from Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, India, and Papua New Guinea (PNG). There were significant intraspecies and interspecies correlations for most antibody responses (e.g., PfMSP119 versus PfAMA1, Spearman's rho?=?0.81). Women from PNG and Colombia had the highest levels of IgG overall. Submicroscopic infections seemed sufficient to boost antibody responses in Guatemala but not antigen-specific cellular responses in PNG. Brazil had the highest percentage of Duffy binding inhibition (p-values versus Colombia: 0.040; Guatemala: 0.047; India: 0.003, and PNG: 0.153) despite having low anti-PvDBP IgG levels. Almost all antibodies had a positive association with present infection, and coinfection with the other species increased this association. Anti-PvDBP, anti-PfMSP1, and anti-PfAMA1 IgG levels at recruitment were positively associated with infection at delivery (p-values: 0.010, 0.003, and 0.023, respectively), suggesting that they are markers of malaria exposure. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from Pv-infected women presented fewer CD8+IFN-?+ T cells and secreted more G-CSF and IL-4 independently of the stimulus used in vitro. Functional anti-PvDBP levels at recruitment had a positive association with birth weight (difference per doubling antibody levels: 45?g, p-value: 0.046). Thus, naturally acquired binding-inhibitory antibodies to PvDBP might confer protection against poor outcomes of Pv malaria in pregnancy.
Project description:Papua New Guinea has among the highest estimated burden of cervical cancer globally, but currently lacks national cervical screening or human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programmes. The Papua New Guinean government is committed to introducing the HPV vaccine for primary prevention, but locally-relevant research evidence is not available to guide implementation. Experience from earlier Papua New Guinean health programmes suggests that appropriate engagement with local health cosmologies and cultures for health/wellbeing, illness/disease, and recognition of the role of 'outsiders' in preventing, promoting or contributing to sickness, are essential to the successful introduction of biomedical interventions in this setting. We describe findings from a multi-site qualitative study undertaken in three provinces in Papua New Guinea (2012-14). Twenty-one gender specific focus group discussions and 82 semi-structured interviews, with a total of 208 participants, were conducted. There was strong community support for the introduction of the HPV vaccine for cervical cancer prevention in Papua New Guinea. Significantly, and despite being officially discussed in the context of a planned future intervention focusing on vaccinating young girls to prevent cervical cancer, the intervention was de-feminised, where both girls and boys were supported to be vaccinated in any HPV programme in Papua New Guinea.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Toll-like receptors (TLR) and related downstream signaling pathways of innate immunity have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Because of their potential role in malaria pathogenesis, polymorphisms in these genes may be under selective pressure in populations where this infectious disease is endemic. METHODS: A post-PCR Ligation Detection Reaction-Fluorescent Microsphere Assay (LDR-FMA) was developed to determine the frequencies of TLR2, TLR4, TLR9, MyD88-Adaptor Like Protein (MAL) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and TLR2 length polymorphisms in 170 residents of two regions of Kenya where malaria transmission is stable and high (holoendemic) or episodic and low, 346 residents of a malaria holoendemic region of Papua New Guinea, and 261 residents of North America of self-identified ethnicity. RESULTS: The difference in historical malaria exposure between the two Kenyan sites has significantly increased the frequency of malaria protective alleles glucose-6-phoshpate dehydrogenase (G6PD) and Hemoglobin S (HbS) in the holoendemic site compared to the episodic transmission site. However, this study detected no such difference in the TLR2, TLR4, TLR9, and MAL allele frequencies between the two study sites. All polymorphisms were in Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium in the Kenyan and Papua New Guinean populations. TLR9 SNPs and length polymorphisms within the TLR2 5' untranslated region were the only mutant alleles present at a frequency greater than 10% in all populations. CONCLUSION: Similar frequencies of TLR2, TLR4, TLR9, and MAL genetic polymorphisms in populations with different histories of malaria exposure suggest that these innate immune pathways have not been under strong selective pressure by malaria. Genotype frequencies are consistent with Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium and the Neutral Theory, suggesting that genetic drift has influenced allele frequencies to a greater extent than selective pressure from malaria or any other infectious agents in these populations.