The lower susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum malaria of Fulani of Burkina Faso (west Africa) is associated with low frequencies of classic malaria-resistance genes by Modiano D, Luoni G, Sirima B S, Lanfrancotti A, Petrarca V, Cruciani F, Simporé J, Ciminelli B M, Foglietta E, Grisanti P, Bianco I, Modiano G, Coluzzi M in Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2001).

[PMID: 11355545] PubMed


The gene frequencies in 1993-94 for haemoglobin S, haemoglobin C, alpha-3.7 deletional thalassaemia, G6PDA-, HLAB*5301 were estimated in Fulani, Mossi and Rimaibé ethnic groups of Burkina Faso, West Africa. The aim of the study was to verify whether the previously reported Fulani lower susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum malaria was associated with any of these malaria-resistance genes. Similar frequencies for haemoglobin S were recorded in the 3 ethnic groups (0.024 +/- 0.008, 0.030 +/- 0.011, 0.022 +/- 0.013; in Mossi, Rimaibé and Fulani, respectively). The Mossi and Rimaibé showed higher frequencies when compared to Fulani for haemoglobin C (0.117 +/- 0.018, 0.127 +/- 0.020, 0.059 +/- 0.020), alpha-3.7 deletional thalassaemia (0.227 +/- 0.040, 0.134 +/- 0.032, 0.103 +/- 0.028), G6PDA- (0.196 +/- 0.025, 0.187 +/- 0.044, 0.069 +/- 0.025) and HLA B*5301 (0.189 +/- 0.038, 0.202 +/- 0.041, 0.061 +/- 0.024). Among Fulani the proportion of individuals not having any of these protective alleles was more than 3-fold greater than in the Mossi-Rimaibé group (56.8% vs 16.7%; P < 0.001). These findings exclude the involvement of these genetic factors of resistance to P. falciparum in the lower susceptibility to malaria of Fulani. This evidence, in association with the previously reported higher immune reactivity to malaria of Fulani, further supports the existence in this ethnic group of unknown genetic factor(s) of resistance to malaria probably involved in the regulation of humoral immune responses.

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