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Uncomplicated malaria infection in pediatric patients in Ghana: relationship with superoxide dismutase

Richard H. Asmah, Brodrick Y. Amoah, Selorme Adukpo, Charles A. Brown, Henry Asare-Anane, Michael F. Ofori, David N. Adjei, Ben A. Gyan, Edwin K. Wiredu, Patrick F. Ayeh-Kumi.

Abstract
Background: During malaria infection, the superoxide ion is produced as a by-product of hemoglobin digestion by Plasmodium falciparum as well as by the immune cells in defense against the malaria parasite. The ion is toxic to biological systems and adverse effect of the ion is limited when it is dismutated and made harmless by the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). In this study, we investigated the activity of SOD in the context of protection against P.falciparum during uncomplicated malaria infection in pediatric patients.
Method: Pediatric patients suffering from uncomplicated malaria and apparently healthy non-infected controls were recruited during malaria season into the study. Blood samples were taken from each participant; hematological indices were measured and parasitemia was quantified. In addition, red blood cells were separated from the blood, lysed, and SOD activity was measured.
Results: Significant differences were recorded in levels of white blood cells, particularly lymphocytes, among the uncomplicated malaria patients and control participants. Statistically high levels of SOD activity were observed in uncomplicated malaria patients compared with apparently healthy controls. Partial eta analysis revealed significant and independent influence of polymorphonuclear neutrophils, platelets, mean cell hemoglobin concentration and hemoglobin levels on the SOD activity levels.
Conclusion: Uncomplicated malaria was associated with high SOD activity when compared with apparently healthy controls in Ghanaian children.

Key words: Ghana, malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, superoxide dismutase



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