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Populations living in endemic malaria areas maybe exposed simultaneously to DDT and malaria infection. DDT may impair status of vitamins, which are implicated in the immunity and pathophysiology of malaria. To explore possible interactions, DDT residues, retinol, alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene and cholesterol were measured in plasma samples of malaria-infected pregnant women (cases, n=50) and age matched malaria-free controls (n=58). DDT residues were found in all samples: mean (sd) total DDT levels of 29.7 and 32.7 ng/ml in cases and controls, respectively. Mean (sd) p,p'-DDT was higher in the controls than the cases (13.5 vs. 9.5 ng/ml, p=0.006). Malaria infection was associated with lower mean (sd) plasma retinol (0.69 vs. 1.23 micromol/L) and cholesterol (2.62 vs. 3.48 mmol/L) compared to controls (p<0.001). Mean (sd) plasma alpha-tocopherol (7.65 vs. 15.58 micromol/L) and alpha-tocopherol/cholesterol ratio (2.3 vs. 6.7 micromol/L/mmol/L) were significantly lower among the controls (p<0.001). Mean (sd) plasma beta-carotene was low (<0.3 micromol/L) in both groups, but higher among malaria cases (0.19 vs. 0.15 micromol/L). Plasma retinol among the controls showed highly significant positive correlations with individual DDT compounds, particularly with p,p'-DDT (r=0.51, p<0.001). Plasma alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene seemed not to be affected by DDT residues.

Original publication




Journal article


Sci Total Environ

Publication Date





78 - 86


Antioxidants, Case-Control Studies, DDT, Environmental Pollutants, Female, Humans, Malaria, Pregnancy, Thailand, Vitamin A, alpha-Tocopherol, beta Carotene