Malaria, anemia and invasive bacterial disease: a neutrophil problem?

Jason Mooney, Lauren Galloway, Eleanor Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Invasive bacterial disease is well described in immunocompromised hosts, including those with malaria infection. One bacterial infection frequently observed in children with Plasmodium falciparum infection is non-Typhoidal salmonella (NTS) infection, in which a typically intestinal infection becomes systemic with serious, often fatal, consequences. In this review, we consider the role of malaria-induced immunoregulatory responses in tipping the balance from tissue homeostasis during malaria infection to risk of invasive NTS. Also, neutrophils are crucial in the clearance of NTS but their ability to mount an oxidative burst and kill intracellular Salmonella is severely compromised during, and for some time after, an acute malaria infection. Here, we summarize the evidence linking malaria and invasive NTS infections, describe the role of neutrophils in clearing NTS infections, review evidence for neutrophil dysfunction in malaria infections, and explore the roles of heme oxygenase-1, interleukin-10, and complement in mediating this dysfunction. Finally, given the epidemiological evidence that low density, subclinical malaria infections pose a risk for invasive NTS infections, we consider whether the high prevalence of such infections might underlie the very high incidence of invasive bacterial disease across much of sub-Saharan Africa.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2018


  • malaria
  • salmonella
  • anemia
  • sepsis
  • neutrophil
  • Heme oxygenase-1
  • IL-10


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