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Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 14;8(1):13851. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32254-z.

Susceptibility to Plasmodium vivax malaria associated with DARC (Duffy antigen) polymorphisms is influenced by the time of exposure to malaria.

Author information

1
Molecular Biology and Malaria Immunology Research Group, Instituto René Rachou, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
2
Departamento de Engenharia de Produção, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
3
Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil.
4
Hospital Julio Muller, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil.
5
Departamento de Análises Clínicas e Toxicológicas, Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
6
Molecular Biology and Malaria Immunology Research Group, Instituto René Rachou, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. tais@minas.fiocruz.br.

Abstract

Malaria has provided a major selective pressure and has modulated the genetic diversity of the human genome. The variants of the Duffy Antigen/Receptor for Chemokines (DARC) gene have probably been selected by malaria parasites, particularly the FY*O allele, which is fixed in sub-Saharan Africa and confers resistance to Plasmodium vivax infection. Here, we showed the influence of genomic ancestry on the distribution of DARC genotypes in a highly admixed Brazilian population and confirmed the decreased susceptibility of the FY*A/FY*O genotype to clinical P. vivax malaria. FY*B/FY*O individuals were associated with a greater risk of developing clinical malaria. A remarkable difference among DARC variants concerning the susceptibility to clinical malaria was more evident for individuals who were less exposed to malaria, as measured by the time of residence in the endemic area. Additionally, we found that DARC-negative and FY*A/FY*O individuals had a greater chance of acquiring high levels of antibodies against the 19-kDa C-terminal region of the P. vivax merozoite surface protein-1. Altogether, our results provide evidence that DARC polymorphisms modulate the susceptibility to clinical P. vivax malaria and influence the naturally-acquired humoral immune response to malaria blood antigens, which may interfere with the efficacy of a future vaccine against malaria.

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