Low plasma arginine concentrations in children with cerebral malaria and decreased nitric oxide production

Bert K. Lopansri, Nicholas M. Anstey, J. Brice Weinberg, Gregory J. Stoddard, Maurine R. Hobbs, Marc C. Levesque, Esther D. Mwaikambo, Donald L. Granger

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Nitric oxide (NO) production and mononuclear cell NO synthase 2 (NOS2) expression are high in healthy Tanzanian children but low in those with cerebral malaria. Factors that downregulate NOS2 also diminish factors involved in cellular uptake and biosynthesis of L-arginine, the substrate for NO synthesis. We therefore postulated that L-arginine concentrations would be low in individuals with cerebral malaria. We measured concentrations of L-arginine in cryopreserved plasma samples from Tanzanian children with and without malaria. L-arginine concentrations were low in individuals with cerebral malaria (mean 46 μmol/L, SD 14), intermediate in those with uncomplicated malaria (70 μmol/L, 20), and within the normal range in healthy controls (122 μmol/L, 22; p<0·0001). Analysis by logistic regression showed that hypoargininaemia was significantly associated with cerebral malaria case-fatality. Hypoargininaemia may contribute to limited NO production in children with cerebral malaria and to severe disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-678
Number of pages3
Issue number9358
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2003

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