Skip to content

Advertisement

Volume 11 Supplement 1

Challenges in malaria research

  • Oral presentation
  • Open Access

Interaction between iron/folic acid and malaria

  • 1 and
  • 2, 3
Malaria Journal201211 (Suppl 1) :O25

https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-11-S1-O25

  • Published:

Keywords

  • Malaria
  • Plasmodium
  • Folic Acid Supplementation
  • Plasmodium Parasite
  • Folate Status

This abstract is submitted as part of the round-table discussion sponsored by Sight and Life.

A recent trial reinforced earlier concerns that iron supplementation can increase malaria rates. The World Health Organization subsequently restricted its recommendations in malaria-endemic areas from universal supplementation to targeted supplementation of iron-deficient children, but continues to advocate universal supplementation in pregnancy. Resurgent interest in iron has led to further studies to assess its safety, particularly in pregnant women; to identify markers for rapid, low-cost screening for deficiency; and to develop safe but efficacious iron interventions.

The hepcidin-axis recently emerged as a newly discovered arm of the innate immune system. Hepcidin is now known to regulate iron absorption and metabolism, but also to mediate impaired recycling and absorption of iron in infections. Current evidence suggests that plasma hepcidin concentration may predict haematological and infectious responses to iron, at least in the short term, and that deliberately altering hepcidin concentrations may result in new strategies to control infections by Plasmodium and other iron-requiring pathogens.

Folic acid supplementation continues to be recommended around conception and during pregnancy, and international agencies have recommended additional measures to increase the intake of folic acid. Plasmodium parasites can utilise exogenous folate, however, and several trials suggest that folic acid supplementation can reduce the efficacy of antifolate drugs used for malaria control. A better understanding is required of the controversies of interventions to increase folate status and the safety of interventions to improve folate status in malaria-endemic countries.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Sight and Life, Basel, Switzerland
(2)
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
(3)
Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Copyright

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Please note that comments may be removed without notice if they are flagged by another user or do not comply with our community guidelines.

Advertisement