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Previous studies identified an allelic variant of the IL4 promoter region (IL4-589T) that appears to enhance the transcriptional activity of IL4, and is associated with increased IgE levels. Total serum IgE levels are elevated in malaria endemic regions, and higher in children with severe malaria. Here, we investigated the relationship of the IL4-589C/T polymorphism with severity of the disease in a case-control study of severe malaria in Burkina Faso, West Africa. No association between the IL4-589T and severe malaria was observed. No difference in Plasmodium falciparum-specific IgE was detected between severe and uncomplicated malaria patients. Among children with severe malaria, total IgE levels were significantly elevated in those carrying the IL4-589T allele (P = 0.018). In children with uncomplicated malaria, no significant difference was found. These results raise the possibility that there is a relationship between susceptibility to severe malaria, IgE production and genetic variation in the IL4 region, which merits further investigation in other epidemiological settings.

Original publication




Journal article


Acta tropica

Publication Date





205 - 209


Dipartimento di Scienze di Sanità Pubblica, Sezione di Parassitologia, WHO Collaborating Centre for Malaria Epidemiology and Control, Rome, Italy.


Humans, Malaria, Immunoglobulin E, Interleukin-4, Case-Control Studies, Polymorphism, Genetic, Child, Child, Preschool, Infant, Burkina Faso, Genetic Variation