Antimalarial antibody levels and IL4 polymorphism in the Fulani of West Africa
Luoni G., Verra F., Arca B., Sirima BS., Troye-Blomberg M., Coluzzi M., Kwiatkowski D., Modiano D.
The Fulani are less clinically susceptible and more immunologically responsive to malaria than neighbouring ethnic groups. Here we report that anti-malarial antibody levels show a wide distribution amongst the Fulani themselves, raising the possibility that quantitative analysis within the Fulani may be an efficient way of screening for important genetic factors. The Th2 cytokine interleukin-4 is an obvious candidate: in Fulani, the IL4-524 T allele is at high frequency and is associated with elevated antibody levels against malaria antigens. These data highlight the possibility of combining inter- and intra- ethnic comparisons to characterize critical determinants of malarial immunity in a natural setting.