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 birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | 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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>