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Malaria: Gender differences in human response to parasites


Women can get rid of asymptomatic malaria infections faster than men, a study published today said. eLife.

The findings were originally posted to the preprint server medRxivSuggests that biological gender differences are an important factor for epidemiologists to consider in the human response to malaria parasites.

Malaria Lifecycle / CDC

Malaria remains a serious global health problem, and infections cause symptoms of illness ranging from simple to severe. In addition, asymptomatic malaria infections are common in what is known as an endemic area, where the disease occurs most often. Partial immunity allows individuals to carry parasites for long periods of time without realizing they are infected.

Chronic asymptomatic infections with the most common and deadly malaria parasites are well established. Plasmodium falciparum (((Plasmodium falciparum), It can cause morbidity in infected individuals and contribute to the transmission of ongoing illness. It is important to characterize these infections as they represent an important part of the parasite reservoir and are therefore a major obstacle to efforts to eradicate malaria.

“It is widely recognized that pregnant women are more susceptible to malaria infections and have more serious consequences, but less attention is paid to the possibility of other biological differences in malaria immunity.” Said lead author Jessica Briggs, an infectious disease clinical fellow. University of California, San Francisco, USA. “This is despite multiple studies showing that men are more often infected when they go out and check in to the community.”

Understanding the human immune response to chronicity Plasmodium falciparum Infection requires frequent follow-up of infected individuals, sensitive detection of parasites, and the ability to distinguish between “superinfection” and persistent infection. Superinfection is common in endemic areas and refers to individuals who acquire a new infection when they are already infected.

In their study, Briggs and his team tracked a group of representatives living in malaria endemic areas of eastern Uganda. They used a gene sequencing technique called amplicon deep sequencing to estimate both the new infection rate within the group and the duration of chronic asymptomatic malaria infection, and compared these measurements by gender. ..

Previous studies have reported a higher rate of malaria infection in men than in women, which was also seen in this cohort. Women have a lower prevalence of infection, but the rate of new infections is similar to that of men, so the team looks to see if there is a difference between men and women in how quickly they can get rid of the infection. I did. “Our analysis reveals that asymptomatic infections resolve spontaneously, almost twice as often as women and men, as if individuals were not treated with antimalarials. “It was,” says Briggs.

The authors add that these findings have some limitations. For example, co-author Isabel Rodriguez-Barraquer, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said: Outside of antimalarial drugs. “

Despite these restrictions, the authors state that their findings should encourage scientists to better characterize the gender differences in malaria. “Our next task is to uncover the underlying biological explanation for these gender differences in the human response to malaria,” said co-author, associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Brian Greene concludes. “We are just beginning a system-based approach to a comprehensive assessment of the immune response over time in a new Uganda-based study.”

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