Nyakeriga, A.M, & Troye-Blomberg, M. (2013). Haptoglobin phenotypes and iron status in children living in a malaria endemic area of Kenyan coast. Acta.Trop. 126(2):127-31


Malaria infection may be affected by host genetic factors as well as nutritional status. Iron status and the phenotype of haptoglobin, a heme-binding acute phase reactant may be determinants of malaria parasitemia. A combination of cross sectional studies and longitudinal follow-up were used to describe the association between iron status, C-reactive protein, malaria infections and host genetic factors including; haptoglobin (Hp) phenotypes, in children below 9 years in a malaria endemic area in Coastal Kenya. The prevalence of 0.45 and 0.41, respectively for Hp 1-1 and Hp 2-1 phenotypes was significantly higher than 0.14 for Hp 2-2 phenotype (n=162). Children with Hp 2-2 phenotype showed significantly higher iron storage compared to those with Hp 1-1 and Hp 2-1 phenotypes when children with malaria parasites and high C-reactive protein (>9mg/L) were excluded from the analysis. There were no significant differences in malaria parasite densities among Hp phenotypes but children with Hp 2-2 had lower number of clinical malaria episodes (P=0.045). Taken together, this study shows that the presence of malaria may complicate the interpretation of iron status in children based on their Hp-phenotypes. Further studies will be required to address possible interactions among the various genetic factors and iron status in a malaria endemic setting.