Studying Different Clinical Syndromes Of Paediatric Severe Malaria Using Plasma Proteomics

  • Abhinay Ramaprasad

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Background- Severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains one of the major causes of childhood morbidity and mortality in Africa. Severe malaria manifests itself as three main clinical syndromes-impaired consciousness (cerebral malaria), respiratory distress and severe malarial anaemia. Cerebral malaria and respiratory distress are major contributors to malaria mortality but their pathophysiology remains unclear. Motivation/Objectives- Most children with severe malaria die within the first 24 hours of admission to a hospital because of their pathophysiological conditions. Thus, along with anti-malarial drugs, various adjuvant therapies such as fluid bolus (for hypovolaemia) and anticonvulsants (for seizures) are given to alleviate the sick child’s condition. But these therapies can sometimes have adverse effects. Hence, a clear understanding of severe malaria pathophysiology is essential for making an informed decision regarding adjuvant therapies. Methodology- We used mass spectrometry-based shotgun proteomics to study plasma samples from Gambian children with severe malaria. We compared the proteomic profiles of different severe malaria syndromes and generated hypotheses regarding the underlying disease mechanisms. Results/Conclusions- The main challenges of studying the severe malaria syndromes using proteomics were the high complexity and variability among the samples. We hypothesized that hepatic injury and nitric oxide play roles in the pathophysiology of cerebral malaria and respiratory distress.
Date of AwardAug 2012
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorArnab Pain (Supervisor)


  • Malaria
  • Plasma proteomics
  • pediatric malaria
  • plasmodium falciparum
  • mass spectrometry

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