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P. falciparum malaria is one of the most widespread and deadliest infectious diseases in children under five years in endemic areas. The disease has been a strong force for evolutionary selection in the human genome, and uncovering the critical human genetic factors that confer resistance to the disease would provide clues to the molecular basis of protective immunity that would be invaluable for vaccine development. We investigated the effect of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on malaria pathology in a case- control study of 1862 individuals from two major ethnic groups in three regions with intense perennial P. falciparum transmission in Cameroon. Twenty nine polymorphisms in cytokine and toll-like receptor (TLR) genes as well as the sickle cell trait (HbS) were assayed on the Sequenom iPLEX platform. Our results confirm the known protective effect of HbS against severe malaria and also reveal a protective effect of SNPs in interleukin-10 (IL10) cerebral malaria and hyperpyrexia. Furthermore, IL17RE rs708567 GA and hHbS rs334 AT individuals were associated with protection from uncomplicated malaria and anaemia respectively in this study. Meanwhile, individuals with the hHbS rs334 TT, IL10 rs3024500 AA, and IL17RD rs6780995 GA genotypes were more susceptible to severe malarial anaemia, cerebral malaria, and hyperpyrexia respectively. Taken together, our results suggest that polymorphisms in some immune response genes may have important implications for the susceptibility to severe malaria in Cameroonians. Moreover using uncomplicated malaria may allow us to identify novel pathways in the early development of the disease.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Alleles, Cameroon, Case-Control Studies, Cytokines, Female, Gene Frequency, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genotype, Humans, Malaria, Falciparum, Male, Middle Aged, Polymorphism, Genetic, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Toll-Like Receptors, Young Adult