Research ArticleMalaria

Loss and dysfunction of Vδ2+ γδ T cells are associated with clinical tolerance to malaria

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Science Translational Medicine  27 Aug 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 251, pp. 251ra117
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009793

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Tolerating Malaria

Individuals living in malaria-endemic regions may develop “clinical immunity”—they still get infected with the parasite, but don’t show signs of infection. Jagannathan et al. now report one possible explanation for this malarial tolerance. They found that a subset of innate-like lymphocytes—γδ T cells—are lost in patients with repeated malaria exposure. What’s more, the γδ T cells that remain behave differently than the proinflammatory cells in people without prior malaria infection; they produce lower amounts of cytokines and express immunoregulatory genes. Therefore, although the patients may be asymptomatic, they likely do not effectively clear the infection and could serve as reservoirs for propagating disease.

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