Plasmodium falciparum malaria in south-west Nigerian children: is the polymorphism of ICAM-1 and E-selectin genes contributing to the clinical severity of malaria?
Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains a major public health hazard in sub-Saharan African children. While the factors that determine the variations in clinical outcome of a malaria have not been completely defined, both host and parasite factors, as well as the complex molecular interactions between them have been implicated. The cyto-adherent properties of the P. falciparum-infected red blood cells are considered as key properties in the pathogenesis of malaria and the polymorphisms of the host adhesion molecules could contribute to the severity of malaria. Clinical information and blood samples were collected from 223 children from Ibadan (south-west Nigeria), median age of 34.5 months, presenting with different clinical manifestations of malaria--clinically asymptomatic parasitism (ACP), acute uncomplicated malaria (UM) and severe malaria (SM)--as defined by WHO criteria. The polymorphisms of genes coding for four human adhesion molecules at six different loci (ICAM-1 exons 2, 4 and 6, E-selectin exon 2, CD36 exon 10, and PECAM exon 3) were studied. DNA samples were prepared for further genotyping of the six exons mentioned above by PCR-RFLPs using the appropriate restriction digests for each loci. The ICAM-1 exon 4 locus was monomorphic. All the other loci were at Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE). The E-selectin locus had very low heterozygosity (approximately 0.06) in contrast to the other loci under study (0.23-0.44). Once the data was further processed for covariates (age and parasite density) and taking as the reference category the ACP group, results show that in the presence of the G allele at the ICAM-1 exon 6 there is an increased risk (3.6 times) of severe malaria. As far as the T allele in the E-selectin exon is concerned, the number of sampled DNAs with the T allele within both the UM and SM categories is too low for drawing any relevant conclusion at this stage. In conclusion, these results suggest that genetic polymorphisms at host adhesion molecules loci are an important variable in the susceptibility to severe malaria. Further studies of host loci are needed to further delineate which polymorphisms are associated with severe malaria and increase our knowledge of the biology of host-parasite interactions.
Amodu, OK; Gbadegesin, RA; Ralph, SA; Adeyemo, AA; Brenchley, PE; Ayoola, OO; Orimadegun, AE; Akinsola, AK; Olumese, PE; Omotade, OO
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