Red blood cell polymorphisms and adaptation to malaria

Puhović, Jasmina (2009) Red blood cell polymorphisms and adaptation to malaria. Bachelor's thesis, Faculty of Science > Department of Biology.

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Abstract

Malaria is an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium and it is transmitted by musquitoes of the genus Anopheles. Although there are antimalarial drugs, mortality levels are very high because drug treatments are often too expensive for people living in malaria endemic areas. Malaria is probably the greatest selective pressure on the human genome in recent history. This pressure has resulted in number of genetic variants that confer some kind of protection against the malaria, they are mostly protective against severe form of the disease. The most-studied condition is the sickle-cell disease, a hereditary blood disease present in malaria-endemic regions. Heterozygotes have no symptoms of the disease nor severe malaria. Red blood cells are involved in the most important part of plasmodium life cycle because they provide the parasite with food, oxygen and shelter. Malaria resistance genes are mostly those that determine the red blood cell structure or function. Red blood cell polymorphisms associated with some protection are the structural haemoglobin variants like sickle cell trait or disease, HbC and HbE; thalassemia, ovalocytosis, changes in red blood cell enzymes like G6PD deficiency and red blood cell surface antigens like Duffy antigens, glycoproteins, complement receptors and PfEMP1. Studying those genetic variants is important because it can teach us about protective relationship between human cells and malaria. In the future, that knowledge might be used for the development of effective and affordable vaccines or anti-malarial drugs.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's thesis)
Supervisor: Pavlica, Mirjana
Date: 2009
Number of Pages: 13
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science > Department of Biology
Depositing User: Silvana Šehić
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2014 11:12
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2014 11:12
URI: http://digre.pmf.unizg.hr/id/eprint/3509

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