Impact of Host Iron Status and Iron Supplement Use on Erythrocytic Stage of Plasmodium Falciparum

2014-08-27 03:17:26 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to perform laboratory based studies to determine if the growth and development of the malaria parasite is effected by iron status of its host (the person infected with the malaria parasite). Iron deficiency affects over 500 million people including many pregnant women and children from areas of the world that are plagued by malaria. Some population based studies have suggested that iron deficiency protects people from getting malaria and this has raised questions about the wisdom of public health policies that provide universal iron supplementation in countries where malaria is common. We will use red blood cells and sera from patients with iron deficiency anemia, hereditary hemochromatosis and normal individuals who are taking iron supplements to look at this question in a very systematic way. This study should provide information for or against a possible mechanism by which iron deficiency may affect the malaria parasite. The results will contribute to efforts to develop evidence-based public health policies on iron supplementation policies in malaria-endemic areas.

There are three different types of individuals involved in this study (1) people with iron deficiency anemia who will be taking iron supplementation (2) people without iron deficiency anemia who will be taking iron supplementation and (3) people with a condition called hereditary hemochromatosis who have an excess of iron in their bodies.


Purpose: This proposal is aimed at studying the effect of an individual's iron status and iron supplementation on the growth and viability of the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The overall goal is to provide evidence to support the development of evidence-based programs to improve global health policy on iron supplementation in areas of the world with high malaria transmission. Current WHO recommendations include routine supplementation of women and children. Recently however, the wisdom of this policy when applied to areas afflicted with high rates of malaria has come under scrutiny. This proposal will study the effects of red blood cells (RBCs) and sera from iron overloaded patients (with hereditary hemochromatosis), iron deficient patients, and iron replete individuals taking oral iron supplements. This proposal will attempt to identify the mechanism by which the human host's iron status and iron supplement use affects the growth and viability of the P. falciparum parasite in red blood cells.

Participants: Healthy adult volunteers, adults with iron deficiency anemia, and patients with hereditary hemochromatosis will be enrolled in this study. Fifteen individuals will be recruited under each of the above three settings. This study involves only subjects over 18 years of age and both males and females will be included.

Procedures (methods): Participation in the study involves undergoing a series of screening tests and donation of blood and either a single time point (for hemochromatosis patients) or a total of three pre-specified time points (for healthy volunteers and those with iron deficiency). The healthy individuals will be asked to take oral iron supplements once daily (325 mg ferrous sulfate) for the duration of this study. Patient's blood will be separated by centrifugation into RBCs and sera, both of which will be used for in vitro studies on the impact of iron status on the growth and viability of Plasmodium falciparum.

Study Design

Allocation: Non-Randomized, Control: Uncontrolled, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Basic Science


Iron Deficiency Anemia


Iron Supplement


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill
North Carolina
United States




University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:17:26-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Iron or iron compounds used in foods or as food. Dietary iron is important in oxygen transport and the synthesis of the iron-porphyrin proteins hemoglobin, myoglobin, cytochromes, and cytochrome oxidase. Insufficient amounts of dietary iron can lead to iron-deficiency anemia.

Anemia characterized by decreased or absent iron stores, low serum iron concentration, low transferrin saturation, and low hemoglobin concentration or hematocrit value. The erythrocytes are hypochromic and microcytic and the iron binding capacity is increased.

Anemia characterized by a decrease in the ratio of the weight of hemoglobin to the volume of the erythrocyte, i.e., the mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration is less than normal. The individual cells contain less hemoglobin than they could have under optimal conditions. Hypochromic anemia may be caused by iron deficiency from a low iron intake, diminished iron absorption, or excessive iron loss. It can also be caused by infections or other diseases, therapeutic drugs, lead poisoning, and other conditions. (Stedman, 25th ed; from Miale, Laboratory Medicine: Hematology, 6th ed, p393)

An excessive accumulation of iron in the body due to a greater than normal absorption of iron from the gastrointestinal tract or from parenteral injection. This may arise from idiopathic hemochromatosis, excessive iron intake, chronic alcoholism, certain types of refractory anemia, or transfusional hemosiderosis. (From Churchill's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 1989)

A multifunctional iron-sulfur protein that is both an iron regulatory protein and cytoplasmic form of aconitate hydratase. It binds to iron regulatory elements found on mRNAs involved in iron metabolism and regulates their translation. Its rate of degradation is increased in the presence of IRON.

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