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CD20, CD3, placental malaria infections and low birth weight in an area of unstable malaria transmission in Central Sudan

Samah E Batran1, Magdi M Salih1, Elhassan M Elhassan2, Ahmed A Mohmmed3 and Ishag Adam4*

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan

2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Gezira, Medani, Sudan

3 Faculty of Medicine, Ribat University, Khartoum, Sudan

4 Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan

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Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:189  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-189

Published: 18 November 2013



Malaria during pregnancy is the main cause of low birth weight (LBW) in the tropics. There are few studies concerning B and T lymphocyte infiltrates in placental malaria infections or their potential association with LBW babies.


A case–control study was conducted at the Medani Hospital, Central Sudan. Cases were women who had LBW deliveries (infants weighed < 2,500 g) and controls were parturient women with normal birth weight babies. Sociodemographic and medical characteristics were gathered from both groups of women using questionnaires. Cases and controls were investigated for malaria using microscopic blood film analysis, placental histology, and immunohistochemistry for detection of B (CD20) and T lymphocytes (CD3).


The two groups (97 in each arm) were well matched in their basic characteristics. There were no malaria-positive blood films in either the cases or the controls. Twenty-nine (30.0%) vs. 24 (24.7%), P = 0.519 of the cases vs. the controls had placental malaria infections on histological examination. Three (3.1%), two (2.1%) and 24 (24.7%) vs. two (2.1%), two (2.1%) and 20 (20.6%) of the placentae showed evidence of acute, chronic and past malarial infections on histopathological examination of the two groups (case–control), respectively, while 68 (70.1%) vs. 73 (75.3%) of them showed no signs of infection; P = 0.420. Women with placental malaria infections had significantly fewer CD20 cell infiltrates [6 (11.3% vs. 95 (67.4%), P < 0.001)] and higher numbers of CD3 cell infiltrates [50 (94.3%) vs. 42 (29.8%), P < 0.001] than those without placental malaria infection. Logistic regression analysis showed that neither placental malaria infections nor CD3 or CD20 were associated with LBW.


Significantly higher rates of CD3 T cells and lower rates of CD20 B cells were found in women with placental malaria infections compared with those without such infections. Neither placental malaria infection nor CD3 or CD20 are associated with LBW.

Virtual slides webcite

Malaria; Pregnancy; Low birth weight; CD20; CD3; Sudan