Complement receptor one (CR1) is essential for removing circulating immune complexes (CIC), with malaria infection contributing to the formation of large amounts of CIC. We investigated CIC levels in children with malaria, of varying severity and seasonality. Two hundred age and sex-matched severe and mild malaria cases were studied during and after active disease. Pediatric controls had increased CIC levels (mean = 32 µg mEq/mL) compared to adult controls (mean = 26.9 µg mEq/mL). The highest levels of CIC were reported in severe malaria (mean = 39 µg mEq/mL). Higher levels of CIC were recorded in younger children and those with low E-CR1 copy numbers. Our data suggest that low levels of E-CR1 copy numbers, found in children with severe malaria, may adversely affect the ability to remove IC. Furthermore, the high background for circulating immune complex imply that Malian children are under constant assault by other pathogens that evoke a strong immune response.
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