Metabolic Complications of Severe Malaria

  • T. Planche
  • A. Dzeing
  • E. Ngou-Milama
  • M. Kombila
  • P. W. Stacpoole
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 295)


Metabolic complications of malaria are increasingly recognized as contributing to severe and fatal malaria. Disorders of carbohydrate metabolism, including hypoglycaemia and lactic acidosis, are amongst the most important markers of disease severity both in adults and children infected with Plasmodium falciparum. Aminoacid and lipid metabolism are also altered by malaria. In adults, hypoglycaemia is associated with increased glucose turnover and quinine-induced hyperinsulinaemia, which causes increased peripheral uptake of glucose. Hypoglycaemia in children results from a combination of decreased production and/or increased peripheral uptake of glucose, due to increased anaerobic glycolysis. Patients with severe malaria should be monitored frequently for hypoglycaemia and treated rapidly with intravenous glucose if hypoglycaemia is detected. The most common aetiology of hyperlactataemia in severe malaria is probably increased anaerobic glucose metabolism, caused by generalized microvascular sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes that reduces blood flow to tissues. Several potential treatments for hyperlactataemia have been investigated, but their effect on mortality from severe malaria has not been determined.


Lactic Acidosis Falciparum Malaria Severe Malaria Cerebral Malaria Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Planche
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Dzeing
    • 3
  • E. Ngou-Milama
    • 4
  • M. Kombila
    • 3
  • P. W. Stacpoole
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Centre for InfectionSt. George’s University of LondonCranmer Terrace, LondonUK
  2. 2.Medical Research UnitAlbert Schweitzer HospitalLambarénéGabon
  3. 3.Département de Parasitologie, Mycologie et Médecine Tropicale, Faculté de Mé decineUniversité des Sciences de la SantéLibrevilleGabon
  4. 4.Département de Biochimie, Faculté de MédecineUniversité des Sciences de la SantéLibrevilleGabon
  5. 5.Departments of Medicine (Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism), Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the General Clinical Research CenterUniversity of FloridaGainsvilleUSA

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