Louisiana State University, School of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, New Orleans 70112,
We conducted this study to determine whether children with cerebral malaria are less likely to have tissue iron deficiency than those with non-cerebral malaria. Iron status was assessed by soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), serum ferritin, and haemoglobin in 44 Zaïrian children: 15 with cerebral malaria, 14 with non-cerebral malaria, and 15 without malaria (age range 0.5-16 years). Although there was no significant difference in the mean concentrations of sTfR, serum ferritin, or haemoglobin between either group of patients, a higher percentage of children with cerebral malaria (27 per cent) than those with non-cerebral malaria (14 per cent) or controls (7%) had sTfR levels above 7.3 mg/l (suggestive of tissue iron deficiency). A higher percentage of children with cerebral malaria (40 per cent) than with non-cerebral malaria (29 per cent) or controls (20 per cent) also had either serum ferritin < 100 micrograms/l and inflammation or sTfR > 7.3 mg/l or both. The data suggest that children with cerebral malaria are as likely to have tissue iron deficiency as those with non-cerebral malaria.