Recurrent plasmodium falciparum malaria infections in kenyan children diminish t-cell immunity to epstein barr virus lytic but not latent antigens

Cynthia J. Snider, Stephen R. Cole, Kiprotich Chelimo, Peter Odada Sumba, Pia D.M. MacDonald, Chandy C. John, Steven R. Meshnick, Ann M. Moormann

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15 Scopus citations


Plasmodium falciparum malaria (Pf-malaria) and Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) infections coexist in children at risk for endemic Burkitt's lymphoma (eBL); yet studies have only glimpsed the cumulative effect of Pf-malaria on EBV-specific immunity. Using pooled EBV lytic and latent CD8+ T-cell epitope-peptides, IFN-γ ELISPOT responses were surveyed three times among children (10 months to 15 years) in Kenya from 2002-2004. Prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated in association with Pf-malaria exposure, defined at the district-level (Kisumu: holoendemic; Nandi: hypoendemic) and the individual-level. We observed a 46% decrease in positive EBV lytic antigen IFN-γ responses among 5-9 year olds residing in Kisumu compared to Nandi (PR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.30-0.99). Individual-level analysis in Kisumu revealed further impairment of EBV lytic antigen responses among 5-9 year olds consistently infected with Pf-malaria compared to those never infected. There were no observed district- or individual-level differences between Pf-malaria exposure and EBV latent antigen IFN-γ response. The gradual decrease of EBV lytic antigen but not latent antigen IFN-γ responses after primary infection suggests a specific loss in immunological control over the lytic cycle in children residing in malaria holoendemic areas, further refining our understanding of eBL etiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere31753
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 12 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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