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Am J Transl Res 2013;5(2):235-245

Original Article
Cytokine dysregulation associated with malarial anemia in Plasmo-
dium yoelii infected mice

Lili Xu, Xiaoying Zheng, Klavs Berzins, Asok Chaudhuri

Laboratory of Cell Biology, New York Blood Center, 310 East 67th Street, New York, NY, USA; Laboratory of
Complement Biology, New York Blood Center, 310 East 67th Street, New York, NY, USA; Department of
Immunology, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. Current address:
Department of Biological Sciences, New York City College of Technology, CUNY, 300 Jay Street, Room: P313,
Brooklyn, NY 11201.

Received January 11, 2013; Accepted March 1, 2013; Epub March 28, 2013; Published April 8, 2013

Abstract: The mechanisms of malaria anemia remain incompletely understood although much effort has been
put on studies in both human and murine systems. Hematopoiesis is regulated by the proliferation, differentiation
and maturation of erythropoietic progenitor cells into erythrocytes and is tightly controlled by a complex
communication network of cytokines as signal mediators. The present study used the murine P. yoelii 17XNL
malaria model to investigate the profile of cytokines and leukocytes throughout the entire infection. Moreover,
malaria induced anemia was studied in comparison with anemia induced by hemorrhage and hemolysis. During
the P. yoelii infection, the levels of erythropoietic-related cytokines, such as G-CSF, GMCSF, IL-7, and IL-17, were
pronouncedly reduced, while those of regulatory cytokines, such as IL-10 and TNF-α, were constantly increased.
This cytokine profile corresponded well with the cellular composition during the infection, such as drastically
decreased levels of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. The profiles of erythropoiesis or hematopoiesis related cytokines
during malarial anemia showed striking differences from those during anemia induced by hemorrhage or
hemolysis. This study demonstrates that a markedly dysregulated cytokine network occurred in this murine
malaria model, which may open a new window of insight into the mechanisms of malaria related anemia
(AJTR1301002).

Keywords: Malaria, Plasmodium yoelii, anemia, hematopoiesis, IL-7, IL-17, Epo, cytokine

Address correspondence to: Dr. Lili Xu, Department of Immunology, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm
University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel: 46 8 164 168; Fax: 46-8-6129542; E-mail: lili.xu@wgi.su.se or Dr.
Asok Chaudhuri, Department of Biological Sciences, New York City College of Technology, CUNY, 300 Jay Street,
Room: P313, Brooklyn, NY 11201. E-mail: achaudhuri@citytech.cuny.edu; asokc@verizon.net