Background: Chitotriosidase is a functional chitinase secreted by activated macrophages. It is encoded by a gene located on chromosome 1q31-32, whose mutations may be responsible for chitotriosidase deficiency, encountered in almost 6% of Caucasian population.
Objective: This study reports firstly plasma chitotriosidase activity in African children with acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The chitotriosidase activity was correlated to objective parameters reflecting the status of the disease and compared with those found in healthy African children.
Results: We found that plasma chitotriosidase levels are significantly increased in African children with acute malaria (185.0+/-141.0 nmol/h/ml; median 150; range 11-521) with respect to reference values obtained in age matched African children (84.4.5+/-72.8 nmol/ml/h; median 63; range 4-350) (P<0.001). Moreover the levels of chitotriosidase were higher in African children than in Caucasian children matched for age (28.86+/-18.7 nmol/h/ml; median 24; range 1-98) (P<0.0001). A remarkable significant correlation was found between plasma chitotriosidase and reticulo-endothelial activation, as judged by thrombocytopenia degree and serum ferritin level in children with acute malaria.
Conclusion: Based on this study, it appears that genetic and environmental features might be responsible for diversity of plasma chitotriosidase activity in black children living in Burkina Faso.