Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

HIV And Malaria Combine To Adversely Affect Pregnant Women And Their Infants

Date:
May 29, 2007
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
Researchers discover how HIV virus impairs a pregnant women's defenses against malaria -- research that could mean new vaccines for pregnant woman in malaria-ravished regions.

University of Toronto researchers have uncovered the basis by which pregnant women protect themselves against malaria and have also discovered how the HIV virus works to counteract this defence. The research could lead to improved vaccines for pregnant women in malaria-ravished regions.

Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes that kills more than one million people every year. While the disease affects mostly children, malaria also severely affects pregnant women, especially during their first pregnancy, accounting for an estimated 400,000 cases of severe anaemia and 200,000 infant deaths each year. With the recent realization that HIV further aggravates pregnancy-associated malaria (PAM) there is an urgent need to understand these diseases during pregnancy and turn this knowledge into effective therapies.

Until now the mechanisms by which pregnant women defend themselves against malaria and how HIV impairs this defence have been unknown, but a paper published in PLoS Medicine pinpoints how the virus targets the immune response in pregnant women. "PAM can be a deadly condition that leaves mothers and their children particularly vulnerable," says Professor Kevin Kain, an infectious disease specialist and lead author of the study. "We set out to understand how women acquire protection against malaria during pregnancy and how HIV infection impairs that protection. By understanding how they lost protection in the face of HIV we learned how they acquired protection against malaria in the first place."

PAM occurs when red blood cells infected with malaria parasites gather in the placenta resulting in damage to both mother and developing infant. First-time mothers are particularly susceptible to PAM whereas women in subsequent pregnancies become protected against PAM. Having HIV results in this loss of protection and makes them as susceptible as first-time mothers.

To uncover how HIV affects PAM, Kain and his team collected samples from women in the first pregnancy as well as from women in their subsequent ones living in the Kenyan region where malaria is common. The researchers demonstrated that protection to PAM is mediated by a special type of antibody that allows women to preferentially clear the parasites in their placentas. They found that HIV-infected women lose these antibodies and again become susceptible to the ravages of PAM.

The findings, according to Kain, may help in the development of PAM vaccines. "This is only the first step in creating therapeutics to treat this devastating disease," he stresses. "We hope to help translate this knowledge into more effective vaccines designed to generate these types of protective antibodies."

The study was funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Team grant in Malaria, Genome Canada through the Ontario Genome Institute, and the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre/MCMM.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "HIV And Malaria Combine To Adversely Affect Pregnant Women And Their Infants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070529101138.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2007, May 29). HIV And Malaria Combine To Adversely Affect Pregnant Women And Their Infants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070529101138.htm
University of Toronto. "HIV And Malaria Combine To Adversely Affect Pregnant Women And Their Infants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070529101138.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins