Plasmodium falciparum malaria (Pf-malaria) and Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) infections coexist in children at risk for endemic Burkitt's lymphoma (eBL); yet studies have only glimpsed the cumulative effect of Pf-malaria on EBV-specific immunity. Using pooled EBV lytic and latent CD8+ T-cell epitope-peptides, IFN-γ ELISPOT responses were surveyed three times among children (10 months to 15 years) in Kenya from 2002-2004. Prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated in association with Pf-malaria exposure, defined at the district-level (Kisumu: holoendemic; Nandi: hypoendemic) and the individual-level. We observed a 46% decrease in positive EBV lytic antigen IFN-γ responses among 5-9 year olds residing in Kisumu compared to Nandi (PR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.30-0.99). Individual-level analysis in Kisumu revealed further impairment of EBV lytic antigen responses among 5-9 year olds consistently infected with Pf-malaria compared to those never infected. There were no observed district- or individual-level differences between Pf-malaria exposure and EBV latent antigen IFN-γ response. The gradual decrease of EBV lytic antigen but not latent antigen IFN-γ responses after primary infection suggests a specific loss in immunological control over the lytic cycle in children residing in malaria holoendemic areas, further refining our understanding of eBL etiology. © 2012 Snider et al.
Snider, C. J., Cole, S. R., Chelimo, K., Sumba, P. O., MacDonald, P. D. M., John, C. C., … Moormann, A. M. (2012). Recurrent plasmodium falciparum malaria infections in kenyan children diminish t-cell immunity to epstein barr virus lytic but not latent antigens. PLoS ONE, 7(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0031753