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 March 31, 2015 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 March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
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