Decreased erythropoietin response in Plasmodium falciparum malaria- associated anaemia

A. M.A. El Hassan, A. M. Saeed, J. Fandrey, Walfgang Jelkmann*

*Corresponding author for this work
49 Citations (Scopus)


One of the most serious manifestations of Plasmodium falciparum malaria is anaemia. Its established causes are increased red cell destruction and ineffective erythropoiesis. Since proinflammatory cytokines have been shown to suppress the in vitro synthesis of erythropoietin (Epo), we measured serum immunoreactive Epo in 90 Sudanese patients suffering from malaria. Even in severe cases of anaemia (blood haemoglobin <80 g/l), serum Epo levels rarely exceeded 300 U/l. For comparison, serum Epo was increased up to 12,000 U/l in a reference group of Caucasian patients with anaemia not associated with infection. Moreover, the slope of the log Epo/haemoglobin regression line was less steep in malarial anaemia. Thus, as documented for other chronic inflammatory disorders, there is a relative lack of Epo in malaria-associated anaemia. Treatment with the antimalarial drug chloroquine may aggravate the defect in Epo production, because chloroquine inhibited Epo synthesis when tested in cell culture.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Haematology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)299-304
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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