Genetic/epigenetic and immunological factors in sympatric ethnic groups differing in susceptibility to malaria

Earlier data have shown that there are inter-ethnic differences in susceptibility to the disease between Fulani and other sympatric ethnic group despite similar socio-cultural factors and malaria transmission rates. We have earlier shown that the Fulani individuals have significantly higher spleen enlargement scores, lower parasite prevalence, and seem less affected by the disease than their sympatric ethnic groups living in Malaria and Burkina Faso. We have also shown that they have a much stronger inflammatory response in general. In this project we aim at finding genetic/epigenetic- and immunological factors that correlate with these outcomes and which thereby potentially could determine resistance mechanisms to malaria in the nomadic Fulani population.

Keyworks: Plasmodium falciparum malaria, immunoregulation, inflammation, host-genetic/epigenetic factors


Role of neutrophils in placental malaria

Neutrophils play an important role in the innate immune response against invading pathogens. The role of neutrophils, especially during placental Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) infections, has been poorly investigated. The aims of this project are to investigate the role of neutrophils during placental malaria.
We are combining ex vivo data from malaria-infected patients with in vitro model systems using a placental cell line (BeWo) and neutrophils obtained from healthy individuals exposed to Pf parasites.

Keywords: Plasmodiumfalciparum, placental malaria, neutrophils, neutrophil migration and activation