High level of soluble human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G at beginning of pregnancy as predictor of risk of malaria during infancy

Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 24;9(1):9160. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45688-w.


Placental malaria has been associated with an immune tolerance phenomenon and a higher susceptibility to malaria infection during infancy. HLA-G is involved in fetal maternal immune tolerance by inhibiting maternal immunity. During infections HLA-G can be involved in immune escape of pathogens by creating a tolerogenic environment. Recent studies have shown an association between the risk of malaria and HLA-G at both genetic and protein levels. Moreover, women with placental malaria have a higher probability of giving birth to children exhibiting high sHLA-G, independently of their own level during pregnancy. Our aim was to explore the association between the level of maternal soluble HLA-G and the risk of malaria infection in their newborns. Here, 400 pregnant women and their children were actively followed-up during 24 months. The results show a significant association between the level of sHLA-G at the first antenatal visit and the time to first malaria infection during infancy adjusted to the risk of exposure to vector bites (aHR = 1.02, 95%CI [1.01-1.03], p = 0.014). The level of sHLA-G is a significant predictor of the occurrence of malaria infection during infancy consistent with the hypothesis that mother sHLA-G could be a biomarker of malaria susceptibility in children.