Serum vitamin A and E concentrations in acute falciparum malaria: modulators or markers of severity

Timothy Davis, T.Q. Binh, P.T. Danh, J. Dyer, A. St John, P. Garcia-Webb, T.K. Anh

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    28 Citations (Scopus)


    1. To assess the association between vitamin A, vitamin E and the clinical course of severe malaria, serial morning blood samples were taken from 24 Vietnamese patients, aged 18-62 years, receiving intensive treatment for complicated Plasmodium falciparum infections. A single fasting blood sample was also taken from 10 control subjects aged 22-45 years. Serum retinol, carotene and vitamin E concentrations were measured by h.p.I.c.2. Admission serum retinol concentration was depressed relative to that of the control subjects (0.69 +/- 0.35 versus 1.86 +/- 0.41 mu mol/l mean+/-SD, P <0.001) and correlated inversely with indices of hepatic function, but positively with the simultaneous serum creatinine concentration (P <0.05). During the first week of treatment, serum retinol concentration increased in parallel with improving liver function, whereas serum creatinine concentration remained elevated in the majority of patients. Serum alpha- and beta-carotene concentrations remained depressed throughout.3. Serum vitamin E concentration, corrected for total serum cholesterol concentration in the form of a ratio, was also depressed at presentation (3.1 +/- 1.8 x 10(3) versus 4.2 +/- 0.8 x 10(3) in control subjects; P <0.05), but tended to be higher than the control value at the time of discharge (0.1 > P > 0.05); there was a significant correlation between admission ratio and parasite clearance time (P = 0.04).4. On the basis of this and previous studies, vitamin A replacement could be considered in selected severely ill patients without renal impairment. As found previously in animal models, depressed vitamin E levels may have a beneficial effect on the course of malarial infection.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)505-511
    JournalClinical Science
    Publication statusPublished - 1994


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