Research ArticleMalaria

Integrated pathogen load and dual transcriptome analysis of systemic host-pathogen interactions in severe malaria

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Science Translational Medicine  27 Jun 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 447, eaar3619
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aar3619

Uncomplicating malaria

Plasmodium falciparum infections can progress to severe malaria, resulting in organ failure and life-threatening hematological or metabolic abnormalities. This process is sometimes thought to result from an aberrant host immune response. Lee et al. sequenced patient and parasite transcriptomes in 46 P. falciparum–infected Gambian children to better understand malarial host-pathogen interactions. They found evidence that the immune response in severe compared to uncomplicated malaria was not necessarily dysregulated but instead an expected response to high pathogen load and also implicated neutrophils in this response. This transcriptomic resource may prove useful in future studies of severe malaria and the interaction between malaria host and parasite.

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