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Evolution. 2003 Jul;57(7):1489-97.

Within-host parasite dynamics, emerging trade-off, and evolution of virulence with immune system.

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  • 1Laboratoire Génome, Populations, Interactions, Adaptation, UM2-IFREMER-CNRS UMR 5000, Université Montpellier II-CC 063, Bâtiment 13, RdC, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France. jbandre@crit.univ-montp2.fr

Abstract

Virulence is an evolutionary paradox because parasites never benefit from their host's death. The adaptive explanation of virulence is classically based upon the existence of physiological constraints that create a trade-off between parasites' epidemiological traits (virulence, transmissibility, and clearance). Here we develop an epidemiological model where infections are dynamic processes and we demonstrate how these dynamics generate a trade-off between emerging epidemiological parameters. We then study how host's immune strength modifies this trade-off and hence influences virulence evolution. We found that in acute infections, where parasites are engaged in a race with immune cells, immunity restrains more the duration of the infection than its intensity. As a consequence parasites evolve to provoke more virulent but shorter infections in strongly immunized hosts.

PMID:
12940354
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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