Increased microerythrocyte count in homozygous alpha(+)-thalassaemia contributes to protection against severe malarial anaemia.
ABSTRACT: The heritable haemoglobinopathy alpha(+)-thalassaemia is caused by the reduced synthesis of alpha-globin chains that form part of normal adult haemoglobin (Hb). Individuals homozygous for alpha(+)-thalassaemia have microcytosis and an increased erythrocyte count. Alpha(+)-thalassaemia homozygosity confers considerable protection against severe malaria, including severe malarial anaemia (SMA) (Hb concentration < 50 g/l), but does not influence parasite count. We tested the hypothesis that the erythrocyte indices associated with alpha(+)-thalassaemia homozygosity provide a haematological benefit during acute malaria.Data from children living on the north coast of Papua New Guinea who had participated in a case-control study of the protection afforded by alpha(+)-thalassaemia against severe malaria were reanalysed to assess the genotype-specific reduction in erythrocyte count and Hb levels associated with acute malarial disease. We observed a reduction in median erythrocyte count of approximately 1.5 x 10(12)/l in all children with acute falciparum malaria relative to values in community children (p < 0.001). We developed a simple mathematical model of the linear relationship between Hb concentration and erythrocyte count. This model predicted that children homozygous for alpha(+)-thalassaemia lose less Hb than children of normal genotype for a reduction in erythrocyte count of >1.1 x 10(12)/l as a result of the reduced mean cell Hb in homozygous alpha(+)-thalassaemia. In addition, children homozygous for alpha(+)-thalassaemia require a 10% greater reduction in erythrocyte count than children of normal genotype (p = 0.02) for Hb concentration to fall to 50 g/l, the cutoff for SMA. We estimated that the haematological profile in children homozygous for alpha(+)-thalassaemia reduces the risk of SMA during acute malaria compared to children of normal genotype (relative risk 0.52; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.24-1.12, p = 0.09).The increased erythrocyte count and microcytosis in children homozygous for alpha(+)-thalassaemia may contribute substantially to their protection against SMA. A lower concentration of Hb per erythrocyte and a larger population of erythrocytes may be a biologically advantageous strategy against the significant reduction in erythrocyte count that occurs during acute infection with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. This haematological profile may reduce the risk of anaemia by other Plasmodium species, as well as other causes of anaemia. Other host polymorphisms that induce an increased erythrocyte count and microcytosis may confer a similar advantage.
Project description:Although inherited blood disorders are common among children in many parts of Africa, limited data are available about their prevalence or contribution to childhood anaemia. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 858 children aged 6-35 months who were randomly selected from 60 villages in western Kenya. Haemoglobin (Hb), ferritin, malaria, C-reactive protein (CRP) and retinol binding protein (RBP) were measured from capillary blood. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Hb type, -3.7?kb alpha-globin chain deletion, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) genotype and haptoglobin (Hp) genotype were determined. More than 2 out of 3 children had at least one measured blood disorder. Sickle cell trait (HbAS) and disease (HbSS) were found in 17.1% and 1.6% of children, respectively; 38.5% were heterozygotes and 9.6% were homozygotes for ?(+) -thalassaemia. The Hp 2-2 genotype was found in 20.4% of children, whereas 8.2% of males and 6.8% of children overall had G6PD deficiency. There were no significant differences in the distribution of malaria by the measured blood disorders, except among males with G6PD deficiency who had a lower prevalence of clinical malaria than males of normal G6PD genotype (P?=?0.005). After excluding children with malaria parasitaemia, inflammation (CRP?>?5?mg?L(-1) ), iron deficiency (ferritin?<?12??g?L(-1) ) or vitamin A deficiency (RBP?<?0.7??g?L(-1) ), the prevalence of anaemia among those without ?(+) -thalassaemia (43.0%) remained significantly lower than that among children who were either heterozygotes (53.5%) or homozygotes (67.7%, P?=?0.03). Inherited blood disorders are common among pre-school children in western Kenya and are important contributors to anaemia.
Project description:Most α-thalassemia cases are caused by deletions of the structural α-globin genes. The degree of microcytosis and hypochromia has been correlated with the number of affected α-globin genes, suggesting a promising role of hematologic parameters as predictive diagnostic tools. However, cut-off points for these parameters to discriminate between the different subtypes of α-thalassemia are yet to be clearly defined. Six hematologic parameters (RBC, Hb, MCV, MCH, MCHC and RDW) were evaluated in 129 cases of deletional α-thalassemia (56 heterozygous α⁺ thalassemia, 36 homozygous α⁺ thalassemia, 29 heterozygous α⁰ thalassemia and 8 cases of Hb H disease). A good correlation between the number of deleted alpha genes and MCV (r = -0.672, p < 0.001), MCH (r = -0.788, p < 0.001) and RDW (r = 0.633, p < 0.001) was observed. The presence of an α⁰ allele should be discarded in individuals with microcytosis without iron deficiency and normal values of Hb A₂ and Hb F with MCH < 23.40 pg. Furthermore, MCH < 21.90 pg and/or MCV < 70.80 fL are strongly suggestive of the presence of one α⁰ allele. Finally, an accurate presumptive diagnosis of Hb H disease can be made if both RDW ≥ 20% and MCH < 19 pg are seen.
Project description:Haemoglobin E-beta thalassaemia (Hb E/β-thalassaemia) is the genotype responsible for approximately one-half of all severe beta-thalassaemia worldwide. The disorder is characterized by marked clinical variability, ranging from a mild and asymptomatic anaemia to a life-threatening disorder requiring transfusions from infancy. The phenotypic variability of Hb E/β-thalassaemia and the paucity of long-term clinical data, present challenges in providing definitive recommendations for the optimal management of patients. Genetic factors influencing the severity of this disorder include the type of beta-thalassaemia mutation, the co-inheritance of alpha-thalassaemia, and polymorphisms associated with increased production of foetal haemoglobin. Other factors, including a variable increase in serum erythropoietin in response to anaemia, previous or ongoing infection with malaria, previous splenectomy and other environmental influences, may be involved. The remarkable variation, and the instability, of the clinical phenotype of Hb E beta-thalassaemia suggests that careful tailoring of treatment is required for each patient, and that therapeutic approaches should be re-assessed over-time.
Project description:Plasmodium falciparum malaria is one of the leading global causes of morbidity and mortality with African children bearing the highest disease burden. Among the various severe disease sequelae common to falciparum malaria, severe malarial anemia (SMA) in pediatric populations accounts for the greatest degree of mortality. Although the patho-physiological basis of SMA remains unclear, dysregulation in inflammatory mediators, such as interleukin (IL)-10, appear to play an important role in determining disease outcomes. Since polymorphic variability in innate immune response genes conditions susceptibility to malaria, the relationship between common IL-10 promoter variants (-1,082A/G, -819T/C, and -592A/C), SMA (Hb < 6.0 g/dL), and circulating inflammatory mediator levels (i.e., IL-10, TNF-alpha, IL-6 and IL-12) were investigated in parasitemic Kenyan children (n = 375) in a holoendemic P. falciparum transmission area. Multivariate logistic regression analyses demonstrated that the -1,082G/-819C/-592C (GCC) haplotype was associated with protection against SMA (OR; 0.68, 95% CI, 0.43-1.05; P = 0.044) and increased IL-10 production (P = 0.029). Although none of the other haplotypes were significantly associated with susceptibility to SMA, individuals with the -1,082A/-819T/-592A (ATA) haplotype had an increased risk of SMA and reduced circulating IL-10 levels (P = 0.042). Additional results revealed that the IL-10:TNF-alpha ratio was higher in the GCC group (P = 0.024) and lower in individuals with the ATA haplotype (P = 0.034), while the IL-10:IL-12 ratio was higher in ATA haplotype (P = 0.006). Results presented here demonstrate that common IL-10 promoter haplotypes condition susceptibility to SMA and functional changes in circulating IL-10, TNF-alpha, and IL-12 levels in children with falciparum malaria.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Multiple red blood cell (RBC) variants appear to offer protection against the most severe forms of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Associations between these variants and uncomplicated malaria are less clear. METHODS:Data from a longitudinal cohort study conducted in 3 sub-counties in Uganda was used to quantify associations between three red blood cell variants Hb [AA, AS, S (rs334)], alpha thalassaemia 3.7 kb deletion, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency A-(G6PD 202A genotype) and malaria incidence, parasite prevalence, parasite density (a measure of anti-parasite immunity) and body temperature adjusted for parasite density (a measure of anti-disease immunity). All analyses were adjusted for age, average household entomological inoculation rate, and study site. Results for all variants were compared to those for wild type genotypes. RESULTS:In children, HbAS was associated, compared to wild type, with a lower incidence of malaria (IRR?=?0.78, 95% CI 0.66-0.92, p?=?0.003), lower parasite density upon infection (PR?=?0.66, 95% CI 0.51-0.85, p?=?0.001), and lower body temperature for any given parasite density (-?0.13 ?, 95% CI -?0.21, -?0.05, p?=?0.002). In children, HbSS was associated with a lower incidence of malaria (IRR?=?0.17, 95% CI 0.04-0.71, p?=?0.02) and lower parasite density upon infection (PR?=?0.31, 95% CI 0.18-0.54, p?<?0.001). ?-/?? thalassaemia, was associated with higher parasite prevalence in both children and adults (RR?=?1.23, 95% CI 1.06-1.43, p?=?0.008 and RR?=?1.52, 95% CI 1.04-2.23, p?=?0.03, respectively). G6PD deficiency was associated with lower body temperature for any given parasite density only among male hemizygote children (-?0.19 ?, 95% CI -?0.31, -?0.06, p?=?0.003). CONCLUSION:RBC variants were associated with non-severe malaria outcomes. Elucidation of the mechanisms by which they confer protection will improve understanding of genetic protection against malaria.
Project description:Haemoglobin (Hb) Adana (HBA2:c.179>A) interacts with deletional and nondeletional α-thalassaemia mutations to produce HbH disorders with varying clinical manifestations from asymptomatic to severe anaemia with significant hepatosplenomegaly. Hb Adana carriers are generally asymptomatic and haemoglobin subtyping is unable to detect this highly unstable α-haemoglobin variant. This study identified 13 patients with compound heterozygosity for Hb Adana with either the 3.7 kb gene deletion (-α(3.7)), Hb Constant Spring (HbCS) (HBA2:c.427T>C) or Hb Paksé (HBA2:429A>T). Multiplex Amplification Refractory Mutation System was used for the detection of five deletional and six nondeletional α-thalassaemia mutations. Duplex-PCR was used to confirm Hb Paksé and HbCS. Results showed 84.6% of the Hb Adana patients were Malays. Using DNA studies, compound heterozygosity for Hb Adana and HbCS (α(codon 59)α/α(CS)α) was confirmed in 11 patients. A novel point in this investigation was that DNA studies confirmed Hb Paksé for the first time in a Malaysian patient (α(codon 59)α/α(Paksé)α) after nine years of being misdiagnosis with Hb Adana and HbCS (α(codon 59)α/α(CS)α). Thus, the reliance on haematology studies and Hb subtyping to detect Hb variants is inadequate in countries where thalassaemia is prevalent and caused by a wide spectrum of mutations.
Project description:Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a leading global cause of infectious disease burden. In areas in which P. falciparum transmission is holoendemic, such as western Kenya, severe malarial anemia (SMA) results in high rates of pediatric morbidity and mortality. Although the pathophysiological basis of SMA is multifactorial, we recently discovered that suppression of unexplored hematopoietic growth factors that promote erythroid and myeloid colony development, such as stem cell growth factor (SCGF) (C-type lectin domain family member 11A [CLEC11A]), was associated with enhanced development of SMA and reduced erythropoietic responses. To extend these investigations, the relationships between a novel SCGF promoter variant (-539C/T, rs7246355), SMA (hemoglobin [Hb] < 6.0 g/dl), and reduced erythropoietic responses (reticulocyte production index [RPI], <2.0) were investigated with Kenyan children (n = 486) with falciparum malaria from western Kenya. Circulating SCGF was positively correlated with hemoglobin levels (r = 0.251; P = 0.022) and the reticulocyte production index (RPI) (r = 0.268; P = 0.025). Children with SMA also had lower SCGF levels than those in the non-SMA group (P = 0.005). Multivariate logistic regression analyses controlling for covariates demonstrated that individuals with the homologous T allele were protected against SMA (odds ratio, 0.57; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.34 to 0.94; P = 0.027) relative to CC (wild-type) carriers. Carriers of the TT genotype also had higher SCGF levels in circulation (P = 0.018) and in peripheral blood mononuclear cell culture supernatants (P = 0.041), as well as an elevated RPI (P = 0.005) relative to individuals with the CC genotype. The results presented here demonstrate that homozygous T at -539 in the SCGF promoter is associated with elevated SCGF production, enhanced erythropoiesis, and protection against the development of SMA in children with falciparum malaria.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Severe malarial anemia (SMA) is a leading cause of malaria-related morbidity and mortality in children. The genetic factors that influence development of SMA and inefficient erythropoiesis, a central pathogenic feature of SMA, are only partially understood. METHODS:We performed a pilot Genome-wide Association Study (GWAS) on children with Plasmodium falciparum. The GWAS was performed using the Illumina® Infinium® HD Super Assay in conjunction with Illumina's® Human Omni2.5-8v1 BeadChip (with > 2.45 M markers). Data were analyzed using single SNP logistic regression analysis with an additive model of inheritance controlling for covariates. Results from our pilot global genomics study identified that variation in interleukin (IL)-7 was associated with enhanced risk of SMA. To validate this finding, we investigated the relationship between genotypes and/or haplotypes of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in IL7 [72194 T/C and - 2440 A/G] and susceptibility to both SMA and inefficient erythropoiesis [i.e., reticulocyte production index (RPI) < 2.0 in anemic children (Hb < 11.0 g/dL). Children presenting with P. falciparum malaria (< 3 years, n = 883) were stratified into two groups: Uncomplicated malaria (UM, n = 718) and SMA (n = 165). RESULTS:Regression modeling, controlling for anemia-related confounders, revealed that carriage of the TC genotype at position 72194 T/C was associated with enhanced susceptibility to inefficient erythropoiesis (OR = 1.90; 95% CI 1.09-3.30; P = 0.02) as was homozygous CC (OR 5.14; 95% CI = 1.20-21.99; P = 0.03). Consistent with this finding, individuals with the CA (72194C/-2440A) haplotype had an increased risk of inefficient erythropoiesis (OR = 1.90; 95% CI = 1.10-3.30; P = 0.02), whereas TA haplotype carriers had marginal protection against inefficient erythropoiesis (OR = 0.24; 95% CI = 0.06-1.21; P = 0.05). These observations were supported by Cochran-Armitage trend test for inefficient erythropoiesis (CA > TA > CG; P < 0.01). Although none of the genotype and/or haplotypic variants were significantly associated with SMA, the direction of the risk profiles were consistent with the erythropoiesis results. CONCLUSION:Taken together, variation in IL7 is associated with erythropoietic responses in children with falciparum malaria, a central physiological feature contributing to development of SMA.
Project description:Severe malarial anemia [SMA, hemoglobin (Hb) <5.0 g/dL] is a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality among children residing in Plasmodium falciparum transmission regions. Exploration of molecular pathways through global gene expression profiling revealed that SMA was characterized by decreased HSPA1A, a heat shock protein (Hsp) 70 coding gene. Hsp70 is a ubiquitous chaperone that regulates Nuclear Factor-kappa B (NF-?B) signaling and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines known to be important in malaria pathogenesis (e.g., IL-1?, IL-6 and TNF-?). Since the role of host Hsp70 in malaria pathogenesis is unexplored, we investigated Hsp70 and molecular pathways in children with SMA. Validation experiments revealed that leukocytic HSP70 transcripts were reduced in SMA relative to non-severe malaria, and that intraleukocytic hemozoin (PfHz) was associated with lower HSP70. HSP70 was correlated with reticulocyte production and Hb. Since glutamine (Gln) up-regulates Hsp70, modulates NF-?B activation, and attenuates over-expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, circulating Gln was measured in children with malaria. Reduced Gln was associated with increased risk of developing SMA. Treatment of cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with PfHz caused a time-dependent decrease in Hsp70 transcripts/protein, and NF-?B activation. Gln treatment of PBMCs overcame PfHz-induced suppression of HSP70 transcripts/protein, reduced NF-?B activation, and suppressed over-expression of IL-1?, IL-6 and TNF-?. Findings here demonstrate that SMA is characterized by reduced intraleukocytic HSP70 and circulating Gln, and that PfHz-induced suppression of HSP70 can be reversed by Gln. Thus, Gln supplementation may offer important immunotherapeutic options for futures studies in children with SMA.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Haemoglobinopathies can reduce the risk of malaria syndromes. We aimed to quantify the relation between different haemoglobin mutations and malaria protection to strengthen the foundation for translational studies of malaria pathogenesis and immunity. METHODS:We systematically searched the Medline and Embase databases for studies that estimated the risk of malaria in patients with and without haemoglobinopathies up to Sept 9, 2011, and identified additional studies from reference lists. We included studies that enrolled mainly children or pregnant women and had the following outcomes: Plasmodium falciparum severe malaria, uncomplicated malaria, asymptomatic parasitaemia, or pregnancy-associated malaria, and Plasmodium vivax malaria. Two reviewers identified studies independently, assessed quality of the studies, and extracted data. We produced odds ratios (ORs; 95% CIs) for case-control studies and incidence rate ratios (IRRs; 95% CIs) for prospective studies. We did the meta-analysis with a random-effects model when equivalent outcomes were reported in more than one study. FINDINGS:Of 62 identified studies, 44 reported data for haemoglobin AS, 19 for haemoglobin AC and CC, and 18 for ?-thalassaemia. Meta-analysis of case-control studies showed a decreased risk of severe P. falciparum malaria in individuals with haemoglobin AS (OR 0·09, 95% CI 0·06-0·12), haemoglobin CC (0·27, 0·11-0·63), haemoglobin AC (0·83, 0·67-0·96), homozygous ?-thalassaemia (0·63, 0·48-0·83), and heterozygous ?-thalassaemia (0·83, 0·74-0·92). In meta-analysis of prospective trials only haemoglobin AS was consistently associated with protection from uncomplicated malaria (IRR 0·69, 95% CI 0·61-0·79); no haemoglobinopathies led to consistent protection from asymptomatic parasitaemia. Few clinical studies have investigated ?-thalassaemia, haemoglobin E, P. vivax malaria, or pregnancy-associated malaria. INTERPRETATION:Haemoglobin AS, CC, and AC genotypes and homozygous and heterozygous ?-thalassaemia provide significant protection from severe malaria syndromes, but these haemoglobinopathies differ substantially in the degree of protection provided and confer mild or no protection against uncomplicated malaria and asymptomatic parasitaemia. Through attenuation of severity of malaria, haemoglobinopathies could serve as a model for investigation of the mechanisms of malaria pathogenesis and immunity. FUNDING:US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.