Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How the immune system protects children from malaria

Date:
April 17, 2014
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Summary:
Children who live in regions of the world where malaria is common can mount an immune response to infection with malaria parasites that may enable them to avoid repeated bouts of high fever and illness and partially control the growth of malaria parasites in their bloodstream. The findings may help researchers develop future interventions that prevent or mitigate the disease caused by the malaria parasite.

A colorized scanning electron micrograph shows a red blood cell infected with malaria parasites, which are colorized in blue. To the left are uninfected cells with a smooth red surface.
Credit: NIAID

According to a study published today in PLOS Pathogens, children who live in regions of the world where malaria is common can mount an immune response to infection with malaria parasites that may enable them to avoid repeated bouts of high fever and illness and partially control the growth of malaria parasites in their bloodstream. The findings may help researchers develop future interventions that prevent or mitigate the disease caused by the malaria parasite.

Related Articles


Each year, approximately 200 million cases of malaria occur worldwide, resulting in roughly 627,000 deaths (mostly children less than the age of 5 years living in sub-Saharan Africa). In 2013, 97 countries had ongoing malaria transmission, according to the World Health Organization. Unlike individuals who are newly exposed to malaria, people living in malaria-endemic regions often do not experience malaria-induced fever and manage to control parasite numbers in the bloodstream.

To better understand why, researchers analyzed immune cells from children in Mali who are bitten by malaria-infected mosquitos more than 100 times per year, yet experience malaria fever only two times per year on average. The scientists collected blood samples from children on three occasions: before the start of the six-month malaria season; seven days after each child had been treated for his or her first malaria fever of the season, when symptoms had cleared; and after the subsequent six-month dry season, when little to no malaria transmission occurs.

To simulate malaria infection at these time points, researchers exposed the immune cells to malaria parasites in a test tube. They found that immune cells collected before the malaria season responded by producing large amounts of molecules that cause inflammation, fever and other malaria symptoms. Conversely, cells collected after the first bout of malaria fever responded by producing molecules that control inflammation and destroy the malaria parasite.

The third set of immune cells (those taken after the dry season when there is an absence of malaria exposure) lost their ability to produce molecules that control inflammation, leaving children susceptible again to malaria fever. According to the authors, this immune response, which appears to depend on ongoing exposure to malaria parasites, may have evolved to protect young children from potentially life-threatening inflammation and unchecked parasite growth in the face of repeated malaria infections, before they acquire antibodies that reliably protect against the onset of malaria symptoms.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Silvia Portugal, Jacqueline Moebius, Jeff Skinner, Safiatou Doumbo, Didier Doumtabe, Younoussou Kone, Seydou Dia, Kishore Kanakabandi, Daniel E. Sturdevant, Kimmo Virtaneva, Stephen F. Porcella, Shanping Li, Ogobara K. Doumbo, Kassoum Kayentao, Aissata Ongoiba, Boubacar Traore, Peter D. Crompton. Exposure-Dependent Control of Malaria-Induced Inflammation in Children. PLoS Pathogens, 2014; 10 (4): e1004079 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004079

Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "How the immune system protects children from malaria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140417191735.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2014, April 17). How the immune system protects children from malaria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140417191735.htm
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "How the immune system protects children from malaria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140417191735.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