A new therapeutic strategy for malaria: targeting T cell exhaustion.

Nature Immunology (Impact Factor: 26.2). 02/2012; 13(2):113-5. DOI: 10.1038/ni.2211
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: The within-host dynamics of an infection with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum are the result of a complex interplay between the host immune system and parasite. Continual variation of the P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein (PfEMP1) antigens displayed on the surface of infected red blood cells enables the parasite to evade the immune system and prolong infection. Despite the importance of antigenic variation in generating the dynamics of infection, our understanding of the mechanisms by which antigenic variation generates long-term chronic infections is still limited. We developed a model to examine the role of cross-reactivity in generating infection dynamics that are comparable to experimental infections. The hybrid computational model we developed is attuned to the biology of malaria by mixing discrete replication events, which mimics the synchrony of parasite replication and invasion, with continuous interaction with the immune system. Using simulations, we evaluated the dynamics of a single malaria infection over time. We then examined three major mechanisms by which the dynamics of a malaria infection can be structured: cross-reactivity of the immune response to PfEMP1, differences in parasite clearance rates, and heterogeneity in the rate antigens switch. The results of our simulations demonstrate that cross-reactive immune responses play a primary role in generating the dynamics observed in experimentally untreated infections and in lengthening the period of infection. Importantly, we also find that it is the primary response to the initially expressed PfEMP1, or small subset thereof, that structures the cascading cross-immune dynamics and allows for elongation of the infection.
    Infection and immunity 10/2013; · 4.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The immune regulatory mechanisms involved in the acquisition of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in children are largely unknown. We investigated the influence of parasitic infections, malnutrition and plasma cytokine profiles on tuberculin skin test (TST) positivity in Warao Amerindians in Venezuela. Pediatric household contacts of sputum smear-positive tuberculosis (TB) cases were enrolled for TST, chest radiograph, plasma cytokine analyses, QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT) testing and stool examinations. Factors associated with TST positivity were studied using generalized estimation equations logistic regression models. Of the 141 asymptomatic contacts, 39% was TST-positive. After adjusting for age, gender and nutritional status, TST positivity was associated with Trichuris trichiura infections (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.1-11.6) and low circulating levels of T helper 1 (Th1) cytokines (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.33-0.79). Ascaris lumbricoides infections in interaction with Th2- and interleukin (IL)-10-dominated cytokine profiles were positively associated with TST positivity (OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.1-8.9 and OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.04-5.7, respectively). A negative correlation of QFT-GIT mitogen responses with Th1 and Th2 levels and a positive correlation with age were observed (all p < 0.01). We conclude that helminth infections and low Th1 cytokine plasma levels are significantly associated with TST positivity in indigenous Venezuelan pediatric TB contacts.
    Tuberculosis (Edinburgh, Scotland) 08/2012; 92(6):505-12. · 2.54 Impact Factor


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