Haptoglobin gene polymorphism influences the effect of malaria infection on host haptoglobin plasma level but not susceptibility to the disease

  • Benigni Alfred
  • Paul Gwakisa


A cohort of 344 children aged less than five years were followed for one year to establish the relationship between haptoglobin genotype, haptoglobin plasma level and malaria infection and susceptibility. Haptoglobin genotyping was undertaken using PCR, with plasma haptoglobin levels measured using indirect ELISA. The number of children carrying the genotypes Hp1-1, Hp1-2 and Hp2-2 were 85, 171 and 88, respectively. The state of malaria infection was assessed using standard microscopy method to detect parasitemia. Higher plasma haptoglobin level tended to be associated with negative parasitemia (P=0.01). During malaria infection, haptoglobin level decreased in all individuals and, the decrease significantly varied by genotype, whereby the decrease was greater in Hp2-2 individuals than the other genotypes. A longitudinal examination of blood smears revealed a slightly higher proportion of children carrying the Hp2-2 genotype (12.4%) to be positive for malaria, as compared to children with the genotype Hp1-1 (11.7%) and Hp1-2 (11.6%). The present study has demonstrated that malaria infection in children affects the haptoglobin plasma level and the effect is influenced by haptoglobin genotype. The study has also revealed a limited influence of haptoglobin genotype to malaria infection and disease development.

Keywords: Haptoglobin, malaria, parasitemia

African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 12(10), pp. 1115-1120

Author Biographies

Benigni Alfred
Genome Science Centre, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, P. O. Box 3017, Chuo-Kikuu Morogoro, Tanzania
Paul Gwakisa
School of Life Sciences and Bioengineering, The Nelson Mandela Institute of Science and Technology, P. O. Box 447, Tengeru, Arusha, Tanzania

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5315