Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tolerance to malaria by means of iron control

Date:
November 14, 2012
Source:
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC)
Summary:
Malaria is a life-threatening condition that exposes approximately half of the world’s population to the risk of developing a severe and often lethal form of disease. Researchers have discovered that the development of severe forms of malaria can be prevented by a simple mechanism that controls the accumulation of iron in tissues of the infected host.

Malaria is a life-threatening condition that exposes approximately half of the world's population to the risk of developing a severe and often lethal form of disease. In a study published in the latest issue of the journal Cell Host & Microbe, Miguel Soares and his team at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) Portugal, discovered that the development of severe forms of malaria can be prevented by a simple mechanism that controls the accumulation of iron in tissues of the infected host. They found that expression of a gene that neutralizes iron inside cells, named H‑Ferritin, reduces oxidative stress preventing tissue damage and death of the infected host. This protective mechanism provides a new therapeutic strategy against malaria.

Related Articles


Malaria is the disease caused by infection with the parasite Plasmodium through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Infected individuals activate a series of defence mechanisms that aim at eliminating the parasite. However, this is not totally efficient in terms of avoiding severe forms of the disease and eventually death. There is another defence strategy that provides disease tolerance to malaria, reducing disease severity without targeting the parasite, as recently highlighted by Miguel Soares and collaborators in the journal Science. The study now published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe shows that this defence strategy acts via the regulation of iron metabolism in the infected host.

It was known that restricting iron availability to pathogens can reduce their virulence, that is, their capacity to cause disease. However, this defence strategy has a price, namely the accumulation of toxic iron in tissues and organs of the infected host. This can lead to tissue damage, enhancing rather than preventing disease severity. In the experimental work now conducted Raffaella Gozzelino, a senior researcher in Miguel Soares' laboratory, demonstrates that the infected host overcomes this problem by inducing the expression of H-Ferritin, which detoxifies iron. The protective effect of H-Ferritin prevents the development of severe and often lethal forms of malaria in mice.

The researchers also investigated if there is a correlation between the severity of malaria and the expression of ferritin in humans. Together with Bruno Bezerril Andrade (currently at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, USA), Nivea Luz and Manoel Barral-Netto (at Fundação Oswaldo Cruz and Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil) they analyzed samples from individuals infected with Plasmodium in Rondônia, a state in the north-western part of Brazil. Their results showed that, among the infected individuals, those with higher levels of ferritin presented reduced tissue damage. Together with the experimental data obtained in mice, these observations reveal that ferritin confers protection against malaria, without interfering directly with the parasite causing the disease, that is, that ferritin confers disease tolerance to malaria.

Miguel Soares says: 'Our work suggests that individuals that express lower levels of Ferritin and hence are not so efficient at sequestering toxic iron in their tissues might be at a higher risk of developing severe forms of malaria. Furthermore, our study also supports a theory that explains how protection against malaria, as well as other infectious diseases, can operate without targeting directly the causative agent of disease, namely Plasmodium. Instead, this defence strategy works by protecting cells, tissue and organs in the infected host from dysfunction, thus limiting the severity of disease.'

This study opens the way to new therapeutics that could confer tolerance to malaria.

This research was carried out at the IGC in collaboration with researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), Brazil, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), Switzerland, and University of Brescia, Italy. This project was funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portugal), the European Commission's Framework Programme 6, Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos/Fundo Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico Amazônia (Brazil), Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa e Tecnologia (Brasil), Conselho Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia (CNPq) (Brazil) and NIH.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Raffaella Gozzelino, Bruno Bezerril Andrade, Rasmus Larsen, Nivea F. Luz, Liviu Vanoaica, Elsa Seixas, Antonio Coutinho, Sílvia Cardoso, Sofia Rebelo, Maura Poli, Manoel Barral-Netto, Deepak Darshan, Lukas C. Kühn, Miguel P. Soares. Metabolic Adaptation to Tissue Iron Overload Confers Tolerance to Malaria. Cell Host & Microbe, 2012; 12 (5): 693 DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2012.10.011
  2. R. Medzhitov, D. S. Schneider, M. P. Soares. Disease Tolerance as a Defense Strategy. Science, 2012; 335 (6071): 936 DOI: 10.1126/science.1214935

Cite This Page:

Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC). "Tolerance to malaria by means of iron control." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114134056.htm>.
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC). (2012, November 14). Tolerance to malaria by means of iron control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114134056.htm
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC). "Tolerance to malaria by means of iron control." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114134056.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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