Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic differences explain degrees of susceptibility to malaria

28.11.2008
Certain ethnic groups contract malaria more seldom than others, even though the disease may be prevalent in the area.

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
Elisabeth Israelsson, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, cell phone: +46 (0)73-62 474 40; phone: +46 (0)8-16 41 68; e-mail: lisa.israelsson@imun.su.se
For pictures
+46 (0)8-16 40 90 or press@su.se

Jonas Åblad | alfa
Further information:
http://www.vr.se
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8301

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How protein islands form
15.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>