Haptoglobin levels are associated with haptoglobin genotype and α+-thalassemia in a malaria-endemic area

Heather Imrie, Freya J.I. Fowkes, Pascal Michon, Livingstone Tavul, Jennifer C.C. Hume, Karen P. Piper, John C. Reeder, Karen P. Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Haptoglobin (Hp) is an acute phase protein that removes free hemoglobin (Hb) released during hemolysis. Hp has also been shown to be toxic for malaria parasites. α+-Thalassemia is a hemoglobinopathy that results in subclinical hemolytic anemia. α+-Thassemia homozygosity confers protection against severe malarial disease by an as yet unidentified mechanism. Hp levels were measured in a serial cross-sectional survey of children in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Hp levels were related to age, Hp genotype, Hb levels, parasitemia, splenomegaly, and α+- thalassemia genotype. Surprisingly, children who were homozygous for α+-thalassemia had significantly higher levels of Hp than did heterozygotes, after controlling for relevant confounders. We suggest that this is the result of either reduced mean cell Hb associated with α+-thalassemia homozygosity or an elevated IL-6-dependent acute phase response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-971
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

Cite this