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Malaria

| 02.03.2016

Immunodeficiency in Malaria

Tissue cells use the molecule HVEM to block immune cells through BTLA.

The molecule BTLA has such a function. Unlike similar molecules, which are found on certain immune cells only, BTLA is present on virtually all immune cells. In the course of malaria BTLA is produced at an increased rate thereby reducing the immune responses to the parasites. Mice in which BTLA has been deleted genetically have fewer parasites in their blood. Apparently they combat the parasites more efficiently because their immune system is less weakened.
It is unclear whether it is the parasites, which use the immune brake to protect themselves, or whether the human body itself interferes trying to avoid organ damage by strong in ammatory reactions.

Adler G. et al., J Immunol 2011, 187:5310-9
Guido Adler, Christiane Steeg, Nina Lapke, Bernhard Fleischer, Thomas Jacobs and external cooperation partners (see publication)