The Fulani people in Africa are one example of this. In a dissertation at the Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Elisabeth Israelsson presents some important genetic differences between the Fulani and other peoples that live in the same area that may be of great importance for the development of effective protection against malaria.
The Fulani in Africa have a different genetic signature in the genes that affect how quickly and effectively the immune system can act to build up resistance to malaria. The differences between the Fulani and other peoples included in the study were clear among Fulani in both Mali and Sudan. The two groups have been separated for more than a hundred years and have differing genetic make-up, although both groups continue to evince low susceptibility to malaria. The similarities that have now been discovered in certain variations in both Fulani groups indicate that they arose at an early stage in the history of the Fulani and proved to be so beneficial in defending them against malaria that they have persisted in this ethnic group.
"What's more, we see an effect of these differences in the levels of antibodies and parasites, so we believe that these differences are important and that they can help us understand what happens with the immune system in a malaria infection," says Elisabeth Israelsson.
It is crucial to develop antibodies against the malaria parasite to be able to resist malaria infection. It is therefore important to understand the mechanisms that influence the levels of antibodies. Among the Fulani, examinations show that they have more antibodies and a more active immune system than other African peoples living in the same area.
"If we can understand why certain individuals can produce more and/or more effective antibodies, we can also try to create new medicines or develop a new vaccine against malaria," says Elisabeth Israelsson.
Malaria has existed as long as human beings have, and the disease has left traces in our genes that can be seen today. In her dissertation, Elisabeth Israelsson studied the minor genetic differences in genes that can be important to the immune system in a malaria infection. In particular, she looked at the difference between ethnic groups that have varying degrees of susceptibility to malaria.
The findings of the dissertation show that there are differences between the Fulani and other ethnic groups. Among other things, the genes that control how vigorously and rapidly the immune system reacts to an infection are not identical. And there is also a difference in some of the genes that govern the development of antibodies against malaria infection. The dissertation also shows that checking the immune reaction is important, since such examinations may indicate paths for new vaccine models and/or treatments for malaria.
Title of dissertation: Host genetic factors and antibody responses with potential involvement in the susceptibility to malaria. The dissertation is available for downloading as a PDF at: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8301
The public defense will take place at 10.00 a.m. on November 28, 2008, in Nordenskiöld Hall, Geoscience's Building, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 C, Stockholm. The external examiner is Professor Jean Langhorne, National Institute for Medical Research, Division of Parasitology, United Kingdom. The defense will be held in English.Further information
Jonas Åblad | alfa
Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel
The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering