Sunday December 15, 2019

High Immunity Protein at Birth Cuts Childhood Malaria Risk

For the study, published in the Journal of Scientific Reports, the team examined 349 Mozambican pregnant women and their newborn babies up to two years of age

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A teenager caressing the newborn. Pixabay

Newborn babies who are born with a high level of an immune-related protein in their blood cells are less likely to develop malaria throughout their early childhood, a study revealed.

The research showed that babies born with a high level of a certain type of immunity proteins cytokine, known as IL-12, in their umbilical cord blood had a higher resistance to the development of malaria in the first two years of their life.

“The finding suggests that there is a strong link between levels of this IL-12 protein obtained from the umbilical cord blood and the development of malaria in early childhood,” said lead author Yong Song, from Curtin University in Australia.

With more than 90 per cent of malaria infections occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, childhood malaria remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, resulting in 500,000 deaths annually.

Malaria is caused by parasites that are spread to people through mosquito bites.
Malaria is caused by parasites that are spread to people through mosquito bites. (VOA)

The team also investigated how newborn babies develop high levels of IL-12 in the cord blood.

“We found that the inbred quantity of these small proteins was not only influenced by children and mother’s genetic variation, but was also dependent on the immune system conditions of the mother during pregnancy,” Song noted.

Also Read: FDA Approves Drug to Stop Some Malaria Relapses

For the study, published in the Journal of Scientific Reports, the team examined 349 Mozambican pregnant women and their newborn babies up to two years of age.

“The study could have significant implications for future vaccine design techniques that could assist with the prevention of malaria in high-risk countries such as Mozambique,” said co-author Brad Zhang, Associate Professor from Curtin’s School of Public Health. (IANS)

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This Protein in the Human Brain Can Protect Against Alzheimer’s disease

Brain protein that could protect against Alzheimer's disease

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Immune cells in the brain, called microglia, play a critical role in Alzheimer's disease. Pixabay

Researchers have found that a protein that regulates white blood cells in the human brain could protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

The results published in the journal Communications Biology suggest that this protein, called CD33, could have important implications in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

“Immune cells in the brain, called microglia, play a critical role in Alzheimer’s disease,” explained study co-author Matthew Macauley, Assistant Professor at University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

“They can be harmful or protective. Swaying microglia from a harmful to protective state could be the key to treating the disease,” Macauley added.

Scientists have identified the CD33 protein as a factor that may decrease a person’s likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease.

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CD33 protein in the brain plays a crucial role in modulating the function of microglia. Pixabay

Now, Macauley’s research has shown that the most common type of CD33 protein plays a crucial role in modulating the function of microglia.

“The fact that CD33 is found on microglia suggests that immune cells can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease under the right circumstances,” said Abhishek Bhattacherjee, first author and postdoctoral fellow in the Macauley lab.

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 44 million people around the world.

Also Read- EU Leaders Agree Making the 28-member Bloc Carbon Neutral by 2050

“These findings set the stage for future testing of a causal relationship between CD33 and Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as testing therapeutic strategies to sway microglia from harmful to protecting against the disease – by targeting CD33,” said Macauley.

“Microglia have the potential to ‘clean up’ the neurodegenerative plaques, through a process called phagocytosis — so a therapy to harness this ability to slow down or reverse Alzheimer’s disease can be envisioned,” Macauley said. (IANS)