by Awandare, Gordon Akanzuwine

Abstract (Summary)
Severe malarial anemia (SMA), caused by infections with Plasmodium falciparum, is one of the leading causes of childhood mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the molecular determinants of SMA are largely undefined, dysregulation in host-derived inflammatory mediators influences disease severity. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is an important regulator of innate inflammatory responses that has recently been shown to suppress erythropoiesis and promote pathogenesis of SMA in murine models. The role of MIF in childhood malarial pathogenesis was investigated by examining peripheral blood MIF production in children residing in a hyperendemic area of Gabon, and a holoendemic region of western Kenya. The relationship between MIF concentrations and monocytic acquisition of hemozoin, and the effects of MIF on erythropoiesis in vivo and in vitro were investigated. In addition, the influence of genetic variation at MIF -173 (G/C) and -794 (CATT5-8) on MIF production and susceptibility to SMA and high-density parasitemia (HDP) was examined. Circulating MIF concentrations and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) MIF production progressively declined with increasing anemia severity and increasing levels of hemozoin-containing monocytes. However, circulating MIF concentrations were not significantly associated with reticulocyte production in children with acute malaria. Additional experiments in malaria-naïve individuals demonstrated that hemozoin caused both increased and decreased MIF production in cultured PBMC based on genetic differences. In addiiton, a novel in vitro model of erythropoiesis was developed and used to demonstrate that treatment with exogenous MIF or blocking endogenous MIF did not signifcantly impact on the efficiency of erythropoiesis. Genetic analyses revealed that the MIF -173 CC genotype was associated with an increased risk of HDP compared to MIF -173 GG. In addition, individuals with the MIF -794CATT6/-173G haplotype were significantly protected from SMA while those with -794CATT7/8/-173C haplotypes were at an increased risk of developing SMA. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that SMA is associated with decreased MIF production and that individuals with high MIF-producing genetic variants are less susceptible to severe malaria. The public health significance of this study is that investigations presented here increase our understanding of protective inflammatory responses to childhood malaria, which is critical in the formulation of an effective malarial vaccine.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Douglas Jay Perkins; Simon Barratt-Boyes; Jeremy J Martinson; Robert E Ferrell

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:infectious diseases and microbiology


Date of Publication:09/26/2007

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