Autoantibody levels are associated with acute kidney injury, anemia and post-discharge morbidity and mortality in Ugandan children with severe malaria

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)


Autoantibodies targeting host antigens contribute to autoimmune disorders, frequently occur during and after infections and have been proposed to contribute to malaria-induced anemia. We measured anti-phosphatidylserine (PS) and anti-DNA antibody levels in 382 Ugandan children prospectively recruited in a study of severe malaria (SM). High antibody levels were defined as antibody levels greater than the mean plus 3 standard deviations of community children (CC). We observed increases in median levels of anti-PS and anti-DNA antibodies in children with SM compared to CC (p < 0.0001 for both). Children with severe malarial anemia were more likely to have high anti-PS antibodies than children with cerebral malaria (16.4% vs. 7.4%), p = 0.02. Increases in anti-PS and anti-DNA antibodies were associated with decreased hemoglobin (p < 0.05). A one-unit increase in anti-DNA antibodies was associated with a 2.99 (95% CI, 1.68, 5.31) increase odds of acute kidney injury (AKI) (p < 0.0001). Elevated anti-PS and anti-DNA antibodies were associated with post-discharge mortality (p = 0.031 and p = 0.042, respectively). Children with high anti-PS antibodies were more likely to have multiple hospital readmissions compared to children with normal anti-PS antibody levels (p < 0.05). SM is associated with increased autoantibodies against PS and DNA. Autoantibodies were associated with anemia, AKI, post-discharge mortality, and hospital readmission.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Scientific Report



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.