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Year : 2000  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30-32

Plasma ascorbic acid levels in children with Malaria

1 Department of Child Health, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria
2 Department of Biochemistry, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
M O Ibadin
Department of Child Health, University of Benin, Benin City
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Plasma ascorbic acid (AA) levels were assessed in 66 children with malaria (36 with severe malaria and 30, non-severe malaria; 36 males and 30 females) seen consecutively at the Children's Emergency Room (CHER) of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City, Nigeria, between May and August, 1997. This was done to evaluate the effect (if any) of malaria on AA, an acknowledged antioxidant, vis a vis the increased production of oxygen free radicals mediated by release of Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) as noted in malaria. Thirty healthy children of comparable ages and drawn from same geo-economic locale served as controls. Mean (SEM) Plasma AA level of 2.70 ± 0.10 mg/dl varied significantly from values obtained in controls (4.07 ± 0.16 mg/dl) (P < 0.01). The reduction in mean plasma AA levels was however more marked in-patients with severe malaria (2.31 ± 0.08 mg/dl) and in deceased (2.50 ±0.19 mg/dl). Mean plasma AA was not significantly influenced by age or sex. The reduction in Plasma AA may just represent an aspect of the complex pathophysiology of malaria. Clinical trials would be needed to determine if AA supplementation is warranted in childhood malaria.

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