Proinflammatory responses and higher IL-10 production by T cells correlate with protection against malaria during pregnancy and delivery outcomes

Pilar Requena, Diana Barrios, Leanne J Robinson, Paula Samol, Alexandra J Umbers, Regina Wangnapi, Maria Ome-Kaius, Anna Rosanas-Urgell, Alfredo Mayor, Marta López, Elisa de Lazzari, Myriam Arévalo-Herrera, Carmen Fernández-Becerra, Hernando del Portillo, Chetan E Chitnis, Peter M Siba, Stephen Rogerson, Ivo Mueller, Azucena Bardají, Clara MenéndezCarlota Dobaño

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Pregnancy triggers immunological changes aimed to tolerate the fetus. However, it has not been properly addressed whether similar changes occur in tropical areas with high infection pressure and whether these changes render women more susceptible to infectious diseases. We compared the frequencies of T cell subsets, including regulatory T cells, in pregnant and nonpregnant women from Papua New Guinea, a high malaria transmission area, and from Spain, a malaria-free country. We also assessed the relationship among these cellular subsets, malaria infection, and delivery outcomes. CD4(+)FOXP3(+)CD127(low) T cells (Tregs) were decreased in pregnant women in both countries but were not associated with malaria infection or poor delivery outcomes. An expansion of IFN-γ-producing cells and intracytoplasmic IFN-γ levels was found in pregnant compared with nonpregnant women only in Papua New Guinea. Increased CD4(+)IL-10(+)IFN-γ(+) frequencies and Treg-IFN-γ production were found in women with current Plasmodium falciparum infection. Higher CD4(+)IL-10(-)IFN-γ(+) T cells frequencies and production of proinflammatory cytokines (including TNF and IL-2) at recruitment (first antenatal visit) had a protective association with birth weight and future (delivery) P. falciparum infection, respectively. Higher intracellular IL-10 levels in T cells had a protective association with future P. falciparum infection and hemoglobin levels at delivery. The protective associations were found also with nonmalaria-specific T cell responses. Treg frequencies positively correlated with plasma eotaxin concentrations, but this subset did not express eotaxin receptor CCR3. Thus, an activated immune system during pregnancy might contribute to protection against malaria during pregnancy and poor delivery outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)3275-3285
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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