The implications of high levels of the immune regulatory cytokine IL-10 in Plasmodium falciparum malaria are unclear. IL-10 may down-regulate pro-inflammatory responses and also exacerbate disease by inhibiting anti-parasitic immune functions. To study possible inhibiting effects on parasite clearance, IL-10 plasma levels were determined in 104 Tanzanian children, 1 to 4 years old, with acute uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria, and analysed for association with parasite densities during 3 days of anti-malarial treatment. Higher baseline IL-10 plasma levels were associated with statistically significantly higher parasite densities after 24, 48 and 72 h of treatment. These associations could not be explained by differences in initial parasitaemia, temperature, age, sex or type of treatment. Induction of high IL-10 production might be a direct or indirect mechanism whereby the parasite evades the immune response.
- Parasite density
- Plasmodium falciparum