Malaria remains an important health problem in tropical countries like Brazil. Thrombocytopenia is the most common hematological disturbance seen in malarial infection. Oxidative stress (OS) has been implicated as a possible mediator of thrombocytopenia in patients with malaria. This study aimed to investigate the role of OS in the thrombocytopenia of Plasmodium vivax
malaria through the measurement of oxidant and antioxidant biochemical markers in plasma and in isolated platelets. Eighty-six patients with P. vivax
malaria were enrolled. Blood samples were analyzed for total antioxidant and oxidant status, albumin, total protein, uric acid, zinc, magnesium, bilirubin, total thiols, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), malondialdehyde (MDA), antibodies against mildly oxidized low-density lipoproteins (LDL-/nLDL ratio) and nitrite/nitrate levels in blood plasma and GPx and MDA in isolated platelets. Plasma MDA levels were higher in thrombocytopenic (TCP) (median 3.47; range 1.55-12.90 µmol/L) compared with the non-thrombocytopenic (NTCP) patients (median 2.57; range 1.95-8.60 µmol/L). Moreover, the LDL-/nLDL autoantibody ratio was lower in TCP (median 3.0; range 1.5-14.8) than in NTCP patients (median 4.0; range 1.9-35.5). Finally, GPx and MDA were higher in the platelets of TPC patients. These results suggest that oxidative damage of platelets might be important in the pathogenesis of thrombocytopenia found in P. vivax
malaria as indicated by alterations of GPx and MDA.