Malaria infections during pregnancy can lead to the delivery of low-birth-weight infants. In this study, cytokine mRNA was measured in placentas from 23 malaria-infected and 21 uninfected primigravid women who had delivered in Mangochi, Malawi, a region with a high rate of transmission of falciparum malaria. Significantly increased expression of interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and decreased expression of IL-6 and transforming growth factor-beta1 were found in malaria-infected compared with uninfected placentas. TNF-alpha and IL-8 were produced by maternally derived hemozoin-laden placental macrophages. Increased TNF-alpha expression was associated with increased placental hemozoin concentrations. Increased TNF-alpha or IL-8 expression in the placenta was associated with intrauterine growth retardation but not with preterm delivery. The results suggest that malaria infections induce a potentially harmful proinflammatory response in the placenta.