Thrombocytopenia in falciparum malaria is associated with high concentrations of IL-10.
Casals-Pascual C., Kai O., Newton CR., Peshu N., Roberts DJ.
Over the last decade, a number of observations have suggested that platelets may play a role in the pathophysiology of severe malaria. However, somewhat paradoxically, thrombocytopenia is not associated clearly with outcome. We studied the relationship between thrombocytopenia and cytokines in Kenyan children with severe malaria and showed that thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 150 x 10(9)/L) strongly correlates with high levels of interleukin (IL)-10. Several studies have shown that high levels of IL-10 are associated with a favorable outcome in severe malaria. Taken together, these data suggest why thrombocytopenia has a complex relationship with severe disease and suggest one mechanism whereby IL-10 may modify the outcome of severe disease.