Host Biomarkers Are Associated With Response to Therapy and Long-Term Mortality in Pediatric Severe Malaria

Andrea L. Conroy, Michael Hawkes, Chloe R. McDonald, Hani Kim, Sarah J. Higgins, Kevin R. Barker, Sophie Namasopo, Robert Opoka, Chandy C. John, W Conrad Liles, Kevin C. Kain

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Background. Host responses to infection are critical determinants of disease severity and clinical outcome. The development of tools to risk stratify children with malaria is needed to identify children most likely to benefit from targeted interventions.

Methods. This study investigated the kinetics of candidate biomarkers of mortality associated with endothelial activation and dysfunction (angiopoietin-2 [Ang-2], soluble FMS-like tyrosine kinase-1 [sFlt-1], and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 [sICAM-1]) and inflammation (10 kDa interferon γ-induced protein [CXCL10/IP-10] and soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1 [sTREM-1]) in the context of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-arm trial evaluating inhaled nitric oxide versus placebo as adjunctive therapy to parenteral artesunate for severe malaria. One hundred eighty children aged 1-10 years were enrolled at Jinja Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda and followed for up to 6 months.

Results. There were no differences between the 2 study arms in the rate of biomarker recovery. Median levels of Ang-2, CXCL10, and sFlt-1 were higher at admission in children who died in-hospital (n = 15 of 180; P < .001, P = .027, and P = .004, respectively). Elevated levels of Ang-2, sTREM-1, CXCL10, and sICAM-1 were associated with prolonged clinical recovery times in survivors. The Ang-2 levels were also associated with postdischarge mortality (P < .0001). No biomarkers were associated with neurodisability.

Conclusions. Persistent endothelial activation and dysfunction predict survival in children admitted with severe malaria.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health, East Africa
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

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