Understanding the role of inflammatory cytokines in malaria and related diseases

Travel Med Infect Dis. 2008 Jan-Mar;6(1-2):67-81. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2007.07.002. Epub 2007 Aug 27.


It is now broadly accepted for infectious disease in general that it is not the invading organism, but the body's unbridled response to it--the "cytokine storm"--that causes illness and pathology. Nevertheless, many researchers still regard the harmful effects of falciparum malaria as being governed by oligaemic hypoxia arising from parasitised erythrocytes obstructing blood flow through vulnerable organs, particularly the brain, and we summarise why these notions are no longer tenable. In our view, this harmful sequestration is readily accommodated within the cytokine storm perspective as one of its secondary effects. We approach these issues by examining aspects of malaria, sepsis and influenza in parallel, and discuss the insights that comparisons of the literature can provide on the validity of possible anti-disease therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Malaria / immunology*
  • Malaria / metabolism


  • Cytokines