Publications by authors named "Amagana Dolo"

51 Publications

Spatio-Temporal Dynamic of Malaria Incidence: A Comparison of Two Ecological Zones in Mali.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 06 30;17(13). Epub 2020 Jun 30.

Malaria Research and Training Center, Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry, University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako, Bamako, Mali.

Malaria transmission largely depends on environmental, climatic, and hydrological conditions. In Mali, malaria epidemiological patterns are nested within three ecological zones. This study aimed at assessing the relationship between those conditions and the incidence of malaria in Dangassa and Koila, Mali. Malaria data was collected through passive case detection at community health facilities of each study site from June 2015 to January 2017. Climate and environmental data were obtained over the same time period from the Goddard Earth Sciences (Giovanni) platform and hydrological data from Mali hydraulic services. A generalized additive model was used to determine the lagged time between each principal component analysis derived component and the incidence of malaria cases, and also used to analyze the relationship between malaria and the lagged components in a multivariate approach. Malaria transmission patterns were bimodal at both sites, but peak and lull periods were longer lasting for Koila study site. Temperatures were associated with malaria incidence in both sites. In Dangassa, the wind speed ( 0.005) and river heights ( 0.010) contributed to increasing malaria incidence, in contrast to Koila, where it was humidity ( 0.001) and vegetation ( 0.004). The relationships between environmental factors and malaria incidence differed between the two settings, implying different malaria dynamics and adjustments in the conception and plan of interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134698DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7370019PMC
June 2020

Safety and immunogenicity of Pfs25H-EPA/Alhydrogel, a transmission-blocking vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum: a randomised, double-blind, comparator-controlled, dose-escalation study in healthy Malian adults.

Lancet Infect Dis 2018 09 27;18(9):969-982. Epub 2018 Jul 27.

Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Pfs25H-EPA is a protein-protein conjugate transmission-blocking vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum that is safe and induces functional antibodies in malaria-naive individuals. In this field trial, we assessed Pfs25H-EPA/Alhydrogel for safety and functional immunogenicity in Malian adults.

Methods: This double-blind, randomised, comparator-controlled, dose-escalation trial in Bancoumana, Mali, was done in two staggered phases, an initial pilot safety assessment and a subsequent main phase. Healthy village residents aged 18-45 years were eligible if they had normal laboratory results (including HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C tests) and had not received a previous malaria vaccine or recent immunosuppressive drugs, vaccines, or blood products. Participants in the pilot safety cohort and the main cohort were assigned (1:1) by block randomisation to a study vaccine group. Participants in the pilot safety cohort received two doses of Pfs25H-EPA/Alhydrogel 16 μg or Euvax B (comparator vaccine), and participants in the main cohort received Pfs25H-EPA/Alhydrogel 47 μg or comparator vaccine (Euvax B for the first, second, and third vaccinations and Menactra for the fourth vaccination). Participants and investigators were masked to group assignment, and randomisation codes in sealed envelopes held by a site pharmacist. Vials with study drug for injection were covered by opaque tape and labelled with a study identification number. Group assignments were unmasked at final study visit. The primary outcomes were safety and tolerability for all vaccinees. The secondary outcome measure was immunogenicity 14 days after vaccination in the per-protocol population, as confirmed by the presence of antibodies against Pfs25H measured by ELISA IgG and antibody functionality assessed by standard membrane feeding assays and by direct skin feeding assays. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01867463.

Findings: Between May 15, and Jun 16, 2013, 230 individuals were screened for eligibility. 20 individuals were enrolled in the pilot safety cohort; ten participants were assigned to receive Pfs25H-EPA/Alhydrogel 16 μg, and ten participants were assigned to receive comparator vaccine. 100 individuals were enrolled in the main cohort; 50 participants were assigned to receive Pfs25H-EPA/Alhydrogel 47 μg, and 50 participants were assigned to receive comparator vaccine. Compared with comparator vaccinees, Pfs25H vaccinees had more solicited adverse events (137 events vs 86 events; p=0·022) and treatment-related adverse events (191 events vs 126 events, p=0·034), but the number of other adverse events did not differ between study vaccine groups (792 vs 683). Pfs25H antibody titres increased with each dose, with a peak geometric mean of 422·3 ELISA units (95% CI 290-615) after the fourth dose, but decreased relatively rapidly thereafter, with a half-life of 42 days for anti-Pfs25H and 59 days for anti-EPA (median ratio of titres at day 600 to peak, 0·19 for anti-Pfs25H vs 0·29 for anti-EPA; p=0·009). Serum transmission-reducing activity was greater for Pfs25H than for comparator vaccine after the fourth vaccine dose (p<0·001) but not after the third dose (p=0·09). Repeated direct skin feeds were well tolerated, but the number of participants who infected at least one mosquito did not differ between Pfs25H and comparator vaccinees after the fourth dose (p=1, conditional exact).

Interpretation: Pfs25H-EPA/Alhydrogel was well tolerated and induced significant serum activity by standard membrane feeding assays but transmission blocking activity was not confirmed by weekly direct skin feed. This activity required four doses, and titres decreased rapidly after the fourth dose. Alternative antigens or combinations should be assessed to improve activity.

Funding: Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30344-XDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6287938PMC
September 2018

Safety and efficacy of PfSPZ Vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum via direct venous inoculation in healthy malaria-exposed adults in Mali: a randomised, double-blind phase 1 trial.

Lancet Infect Dis 2017 05 16;17(5):498-509. Epub 2017 Feb 16.

Sanaria, Rockville, MD, USA.

Background: Plasmodium falciparum sporozite (PfSPZ) Vaccine is a metabolically active, non-replicating, whole malaria sporozoite vaccine that has been reported to be safe and protective against P falciparum controlled human malaria infection in malaria-naive individuals. We aimed to assess the safety and protective efficacy of PfSPZ Vaccine against naturally acquired P falciparum in malaria-experienced adults in Mali.

Methods: After an open-label dose-escalation study in a pilot safety cohort, we did a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial based in Donéguébougou and surrounding villages in Mali. We recruited 18-35-year-old healthy adults who were randomly assigned (1:1) in a double-blind manner, with stratification by village and block randomisation, to receive either five doses of 2·7 × 10 PfSPZ or normal saline at days 0, 28, 56, 84, and 140 during the dry season (January to July inclusive). Participants and investigators were masked to group assignments, which were unmasked at the final study visit, 6 months after receipt of the last vaccination. Participants received combined artemether and lumefantrine (four tablets, each containing 20 mg artemether and 120 mg lumefantrine, given twice per day over 3 days for a total of six doses) to eliminate P falciparum before the first and last vaccinations. We collected blood smears every 2 weeks and during any illness for 24 weeks after the fifth vaccination. The primary outcome was the safety and tolerability of the vaccine, assessed as local and systemic reactogenicity and adverse events. The sample size was calculated for the exploratory efficacy endpoint of time to first P falciparum infection beginning 28 days after the fifth vaccination. The safety analysis included all participants who received at least one dose of investigational product, whereas the efficacy analyses included only participants who received all five vaccinations. This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01988636.

Findings: Between Jan 18 and Feb 24, 2014, we enrolled 93 participants into the main study cohort with 46 participants assigned PfSPZ Vaccine and 47 assigned placebo, all of whom were evaluable for safety. We detected no significant differences in local or systemic adverse events or laboratory abnormalities between the PfSPZ Vaccine and placebo groups, and only grade 1 (mild) local or systemic adverse events occurred in both groups. The most common solicited systemic adverse event in the vaccine and placebo groups was headache (three [7%] people in the vaccine group vs four [9%] in the placebo group) followed by fatigue (one [2%] person in the placebo group), fever (one [2%] person in the placebo group), and myalgia (one [2%] person in each group). The exploratory efficacy analysis included 41 participants from the vaccine group and 40 from the placebo group. Of these participants, 37 (93%) from the placebo group and 27 (66%) from the vaccine group developed P falciparum infection. The hazard ratio for vaccine efficacy was 0·517 (95% CI 0·313-0·856) by time-to-infection analysis (log-rank p=0·01), and 0·712 (0·528-0·918) by proportional analysis (p=0·006).

Interpretation: PfSPZ Vaccine was well tolerated and safe. PfSPZ Vaccine showed significant protection in African adults against P falciparum infection throughout an entire malaria season.

Funding: US National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Program, Sanaria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(17)30104-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6803168PMC
May 2017

Phase 1 randomized controlled trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of recombinant Pichia pastoris-expressed Plasmodium falciparum apical membrane antigen 1 (PfAMA1-FVO [25-545]) in healthy Malian adults in Bandiagara.

Malar J 2016 08 30;15(1):442. Epub 2016 Aug 30.

Malaria Research and Training Centre, Department of Epidemiology of Parasitic Diseases, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies, Bamako, Mali.

Background: The safety and immunogenicity of PfAMA1, adjuvanted with Alhydrogel(®) was assessed in malaria-experienced Malian adults. The malaria vaccine, PfAMA1-FVO [25-545] is a recombinant protein Pichia pastoris-expressed AMA-1 from Plasmodium falciparum FVO clone adsorbed to Alhydrogel(®), the control vaccine was tetanus toxoid produced from formaldehyde detoxified and purified tetanus toxin.

Methods: A double blind randomized controlled phase 1 study enrolled and followed 40 healthy adults aged 18-55 years in Bandiagara, Mali, West Africa, a rural setting with intense seasonal transmission of P. falciparum malaria. Volunteers were randomized to receive either 50 µg of malaria vaccine or the control vaccine. Three doses of vaccine were given on Days 0, 28 and 56, and participants were followed for 1 year. Solicited symptoms were assessed for seven days and unsolicited symptoms for 28 days after each vaccination. Serious adverse events were assessed throughout the study. The titres of anti-AMA-1 antibodies were measured by ELISA and P. falciparum growth inhibition assays were performed.

Results: Commonest local solicited adverse events were the injection site pain and swelling more frequent in the PfAMA1 group. No vaccine related serious adverse events were reported. A significant 3.5-fold increase of anti-AMA-1 IgG antibodies was observed in malaria vaccine recipients four weeks after the third immunization compared to the control group.

Conclusion: The PfAMA1 showed a good safety profile. Most adverse events reported were of mild to moderate intensity. In addition, the vaccine induced a significant though short-lived increase in the anti-AMA1 IgG titres. Registered on www.clinicaltrials.gov with the number NCT00431808.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-016-1466-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5006270PMC
August 2016

Distribution of FcγR gene polymorphisms among two sympatric populations in Mali: differing allele frequencies, associations with malariometric indices and implications for genetic susceptibility to malaria.

Malar J 2016 Jan 19;15:29. Epub 2016 Jan 19.

Department of Epidemiology of Parasitic Diseases, Faculty of Medicine and Odonto-Stomatology, Malaria Research and Training Centre, USTTB, Bamako, Mali.

Background: Genetic polymorphisms in the complex gene cluster encoding human Fc-gamma receptors (FcγRs) may influence malaria susceptibility and pathogenesis. Studying genetic susceptibility to malaria is ideal among sympatric populations because the distribution of polymorphic genes among such populations can help in the identification malaria candidate genes. This study determined the distribution of three FcyRs single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (FcγRIIB-rs1050519, FcγRIIC-rs3933769 and FcγRIIIA-rs396991) among sympatric Fulani and Dogon children with uncomplicated malaria. The association of these SNPs with clinical, malariometric and immunological indices was also tested.

Methods: This study involved 242 Fulani and Dogon volunteers from Mali age under 15 years. All SNPs were genotyped with predesigned TaqMan(®) SNP Genotyping Assays. Genotypic and allelic distribution of SNPs was compared across ethnic groups using the Fisher exact test. Variations in clinical, malariometric and immunologic indices between groups were tested with Kruskal-Wallis H, Mann-Whitney U test and Fisher exact test where appropriate.

Results: The study confirmed known malariometric and immunologic differences between sympatric Fulani and non-Fulani tribes. Parasite density was lower in the Fulani than the Dogon (p < 0.0001). The mutant allele of FcγRIIC (rs3933769) was found more frequently in the Fulani than the Dogon (p < 0.0001) while that of FcγRIIIA (rs396991) occurred less frequently in the Fulani than Dogon (p = 0.0043). The difference in the mutant allele frequency of FcγRIIB (rs1050519) between the two ethnic groups was however not statistically significant (p = 0.064). The mutant allele of rs396991 was associated with high malaria-specific IgG1 and IgG3 in the entire study population and Dogon tribe, p = 0.023 and 0.015, respectively. Parasite burden was lower in carriers of the FcγRIIC (rs3933769) mutant allele than non-carriers in the entire study population (p < 0.0001). Carriers of this allele harboured less than half the parasites found in non-carriers.

Conclusion: Differences in the allelic frequencies of rs3933769 and rs396991 among Fulani and Dogon indirectly suggest that these SNPs may influence malaria susceptibility and pathogenesis in the study population. The high frequency of the FcγRIIC (rs3933769) mutant allele in the Fulani and its subsequent association with low parasite burden in the entire study population is noteworthy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-015-1082-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4717667PMC
January 2016

Genetic Resistance to Malaria Is Associated With Greater Enhancement of Immunoglobulin (Ig)M Than IgG Responses to a Broad Array of Plasmodium falciparum Antigens.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2015 Sep 26;2(3):ofv118. Epub 2015 Aug 26.

Laboratory of Immunogenetics , National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health , Rockville, Maryland.

Background.  People of the Fulani ethnic group are more resistant to malaria compared with genetically distinct ethnic groups, such as the Dogon people, in West Africa, and studies suggest that this resistance is mediated by enhanced antibody responses to Plasmodium falciparum antigens. However, prior studies measured antibody responses to <0.1% of P falciparum proteins, so whether the Fulani mount an enhanced and broadly reactive immunoglobulin (Ig)M and IgG response to P falciparum remains unknown. In general, little is known about the extent to which host genetics influence the overall antigen specificity of IgM and IgG responses to natural infections. Methods.  In a cross-sectional study in Mali, we collected plasma from asymptomatic, age-matched Fulani (n = 24) and Dogon (n = 22) adults with or without concurrent P falciparum infection. We probed plasma against a protein microarray containing 1087 P falciparum antigens and compared IgM and IgG profiles by ethnicity. Results.  We found that the breadth and magnitude of P falciparum-specific IgM and IgG responses were significantly higher in the malaria-resistant Fulani versus the malaria-susceptible Dogon, and, unexpectedly, P falciparum-specific IgM responses more strongly distinguished the 2 ethnic groups. Conclusions.  These findings point to an underappreciated role for IgM in protection from malaria, and they suggest that host genetics may influence the antigen specificity of IgM and IgG responses to infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofv118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4564391PMC
September 2015

Genetic determinants of anti-malarial acquired immunity in a large multi-centre study.

Malar J 2015 Aug 28;14:333. Epub 2015 Aug 28.

Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185, Rome, Italy.

Background: Many studies report associations between human genetic factors and immunity to malaria but few have been reliably replicated. These studies are usually country-specific, use small sample sizes and are not directly comparable due to differences in methodologies. This study brings together samples and data collected from multiple sites across Africa and Asia to use standardized methods to look for consistent genetic effects on anti-malarial antibody levels.

Methods: Sera, DNA samples and clinical data were collected from 13,299 individuals from ten sites in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka using standardized methods. DNA was extracted and typed for 202 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms with known associations to malaria or antibody production, and antibody levels to four clinical grade malarial antigens [AMA1, MSP1, MSP2, and (NANP)4] plus total IgE were measured by ELISA techniques. Regression models were used to investigate the associations of clinical and genetic factors with antibody levels.

Results: Malaria infection increased levels of antibodies to malaria antigens and, as expected, stable predictors of anti-malarial antibody levels included age, seasonality, location, and ethnicity. Correlations between antibodies to blood-stage antigens AMA1, MSP1 and MSP2 were higher between themselves than with antibodies to the (NANP)4 epitope of the pre-erythrocytic circumsporozoite protein, while there was little or no correlation with total IgE levels. Individuals with sickle cell trait had significantly lower antibody levels to all blood-stage antigens, and recessive homozygotes for CD36 (rs321198) had significantly lower anti-malarial antibody levels to MSP2.

Conclusion: Although the most significant finding with a consistent effect across sites was for sickle cell trait, its effect is likely to be via reducing a microscopically positive parasitaemia rather than directly on antibody levels. However, this study does demonstrate a framework for the feasibility of combining data from sites with heterogeneous malaria transmission levels across Africa and Asia with which to explore genetic effects on anti-malarial immunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-015-0833-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4552443PMC
August 2015

Safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of 2-dose catch-up vaccination with 10-valent pneumococcal non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae protein D conjugate vaccine (PHiD-CV) in Malian children in the second year of life: Results from an open study.

Hum Vaccin Immunother 2015 ;11(9):2207-14

a Malaria Research and Training Center; Faculty of Medicine; Pharmacy and Dentistry; University of Bamako ; Bamako , Mali.

Pneumonia is still the leading cause of death among African children with pneumococcal serotypes 1 and 5 being dominant in the below 5 y of age group. The present study assessed the safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of a 2-dose catch-up vaccination with the 10-valent pneumococcal non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae Protein D conjugate vaccine (PHiD-CV) in Malian children. This phase III, open-label study (NCT00985465) was conducted in Ouelessebougou, Mali, between November 2009 and July 2010. The study population consisted of PHiD-CV unprimed Malian children previously enrolled in the control group of study NCT00678301 receiving a 2-dose catch-up vaccination with PHiD-CV in the second year of life. Adverse events were recorded following each PHiD-CV dose. Antibody responses and opsonophagocytic activity (OPA) were measured pre-vaccination and after the second PHiD-CV catch-up dose. Swelling and fever (axillary temperature ≥ 37.5°C) were the most frequently reported solicited symptoms following either PHiD-CV dose. Few grade 3 solicited symptoms were reported. Large swelling reactions and serious adverse events were not reported. Post-catch-up vaccination, for each vaccine pneumococcal serotype, at least 94.7% of subjects had antibody concentrations ≥ 0.2 μg/ml, except for serotypes 6B (82.5%) and 23F (87.7%). At least 94.0% of subjects had OPA titres ≥ 8, except for serotype 19F (89.4%). The geometric mean concentration for antibodies against protein D was 839.3 (95% CI: 643.5-1094.6) EL.U/ml. Two-dose PHiD-CV catch-up regimen in the second year of life was well-tolerated and immunogenic for all vaccine pneumococcal serotypes and NTHi protein D when administered to Malian children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21645515.2015.1016679DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4635909PMC
May 2016

Ethnic differences in susceptibility to malaria: what have we learned from immuno-epidemiological studies in West Africa?

Acta Trop 2015 Jun 27;146:152-6. Epub 2015 Mar 27.

Malaria Research and Training Center, Department of Epidemiology of Parasitic Diseases, FMOS-FAPH, ICER Mali-NIAID, University of Sciences, Technique and Technology of Bamako, Bamako, Mali. Electronic address:

There are many fundamental aspects of the immunobiology of Plasmodium falciparum infections that are not fully understood, therefore limiting our comprehension of how people become immune to malaria and why some ethnic groups living in malaria endemic areas are less susceptible than others. The complexity of parasite-host interactions and the genetic diversity of the parasites as well as the human host complicate our strategy to address this issue. In this mini-review we discuss and summarize what we have learned about African ethnic differences in susceptibility to malaria from immuno-epidemiological studies. Additionally, we suggest research topics that might be of great value for dissecting the mechanisms of protection by providing new insights into molecular interactions between the parasite and the host.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.03.023DOI Listing
June 2015

Is Fc gamma receptor IIA (FcγRIIA) polymorphism associated with clinical malaria and Plasmodium falciparum specific antibody levels in children from Burkina Faso?

Acta Trop 2015 Feb 31;142:41-6. Epub 2014 Oct 31.

Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Electronic address:

In the present study, the influences of FcγRIIA polymorphism on susceptibility to malaria and antibody responses to Plasmodium falciparum antigens were analyzed in children. We recruited 96 healthy children between 3 and 10 years at the beginning of the high transmission season and we followed up for 5 months through the high transmission season to assess the parasitological, immunological and genetic endpoints in relation to clinical malaria status. There was a similar distribution of homozygous and heterozygous individuals carrying the FcγRIIA-131R/R and FcγRIIA-131R/H allele, whereas the number of FcγRIIA-131H/H homozygous individuals was lower. P. falciparum infection frequency was not associated with the FcγRIIa-131R/H polymorphism. Only IgG antibody responses to GLURP R0 showed a significant association between antibody levels and FcγRIIA polymorphism (p=0.02). IgG levels to MSP2a were significantly higher in children who did not experience any clinical malaria episode compared to those who experienced at least one malaria episode (p=0.019). Cytophilic and non-cytophylic IgG subclass levels were higher in children without malaria than those who experienced at least one malaria episode. This difference was statistically significant for IgG1 to MSP3 (p=0.003) and to MSP2a (p=0.006); IgG3 to MSP2a (p=0.007) and to GLURP R0 (p=0.044); IgG2 to MSP2b (p=0.007) and IgG4 to MSP3 (p=0.051) and to MSP2a (p=0.049). In this study, homozygous carriers of the FcγRIIA-131R/R allele had higher malaria-specific antibody levels compare to the heterozygous carriers FcγRIIA-131R/H alleles and to homozygous carriers of FcγRIIA-131H/H alleles. The pre-existing antibodies responses were related to a reduced subsequent risk of clinical malaria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica.2014.09.019DOI Listing
February 2015

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase polymorphisms and susceptibility to mild malaria in Dogon and Fulani, Mali.

Malar J 2014 Jul 11;13:270. Epub 2014 Jul 11.

Malaria Research and Training Centre, Department of Epidemiology of Parasitic Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Odonto - Stomatology, USTTB, BP 1805 Bamako, Mali.

Background: Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is associated with protection from severe malaria, and potentially uncomplicated malaria phenotypes. It has been documented that G6PD deficiency in sub-Saharan Africa is due to the 202A/376G G6PD A-allele, and association studies have used genotyping as a convenient technique for epidemiological studies. However, recent studies have shown discrepancies in G6PD202/376 associations with severe malaria. There is evidence to suggest that other G6PD deficiency alleles may be common in some regions of West Africa, and that allelic heterogeneity could explain these discrepancies.

Methods: A cross-sectional epidemiological study of malaria susceptibility was conducted during 2006 and 2007 in the Sahel meso-endemic malaria zone of Mali. The study included Dogon (n = 375) and Fulani (n = 337) sympatric ethnic groups, where the latter group is characterized by lower susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Fifty-three G6PD polymorphisms, including 202/376, were genotyped across the 712 samples. Evidence of association of these G6PD polymorphisms and mild malaria was assessed in both ethnic groups using genotypic and haplotypic statistical tests.

Results: It was confirmed that the Fulani are less susceptible to malaria, and the 202A mutation is rare in this group (<1% versus Dogon 7.9%). The Betica-Selma 968C/376G (~11% enzymatic activity) was more common in Fulani (6.1% vs Dogon 0.0%). There are differences in haplotype frequencies between Dogon and Fulani, and association analysis did not reveal strong evidence of protective G6PD genetic effects against uncomplicated malaria in both ethnic groups and gender. However, there was some evidence of increased risk of mild malaria in Dogon with the 202A mutation, attaining borderline statistical significance in females. The rs915942 polymorphism was found to be associated with asymptomatic malaria in Dogon females, and the rs61042368 polymorphism was associated with clinical malaria in Fulani males.

Conclusions: The results highlight the need to consider markers in addition to G6PD202 in studies of deficiency. Further, large genetic epidemiological studies of multi-ethnic groups in West Africa across a spectrum of malaria severity phenotypes are required to establish who receives protection from G6PD deficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-13-270DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4110528PMC
July 2014

Patterns of malaria indices across three consecutive seasons in children in a highly endemic area of West Africa: a three times-repeated cross-sectional study.

Malar J 2014 May 28;13:199. Epub 2014 May 28.

IMSP: Institut de Médecine Sociale et Préventive (currently Institut de santé globale), CMU, rue Michel Servet 1, Genève 4 CH-1211, Switzerland.

Objectives: To study the manifestations of Plasmodium infection, and its relations with the malaria disease, especially when comparing dry and rainy seasons in a hyperendemic area of West Africa.

Methods: The study was carried out in an area where malaria transmission is high, showing important seasonal variations. One thousand children, representing the total child population (1-12 year old), were observed transversally at the end of three consecutive seasons (dry/rainy/dry). The usual indicators, such as parasite density, splenomegaly, anaemia, or febrile disease were recorded and analysed.

Results: The prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum was high in all age groups and seasons, constantly around 60%. The high transmission season (rainy) showed higher rates of anaemia and spleen enlargement and, in the youngest children only, higher parasite densities. There were also differences between the two dry seasons: in the first one, there was a higher rate of fever than in the second one (p < 0.001). Low parasite density (<2,000 p/μl) was never associated with fever during any season, raising some concern with regard to the usefulness of parasite detection. The possible origins of fever are discussed, together with the potential usefulness of analyzing these indices on a population sample, at a time when fever incidence rises and malaria is one potential cause among others. The distinction to be made between the Plasmodium infection and the malaria disease is highlighted.

Conclusions: These data confirm previous hypotheses of a strong difference in malaria infection and disease between dry and rainy seasons. The most relevant seasonal indicator was not mainly parasite rate and density but anaemia, spleen enlargement, prevalence and possible origin of fever.

Recommendations: In any situation (i.e. fever or not) and especially during the dry season, one must consider that detection of parasites in the blood is only evidence of a Plasmodium infection and not necessarily of a malaria disease. In such a situation, it seems suitable to obtain, through national malaria teams, a well-defined situation of transmission and prevalence of Plasmodium infection following zones and seasons, in order to adapt control strategies. For researchers, a systematic management of data separately for dry and rainy season appears mandatory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-13-199DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4082285PMC
May 2014

Haptoglobin phenotype prevalence and cytokine profiles during Plasmodium falciparum infection in Dogon and Fulani ethnic groups living in Mali.

Malar J 2013 Nov 25;12:432. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.

Background: The Fulani are known to have a lower parasitaemia and less clinical episodes of malaria as compared to the Dogon sympatric ethnic group, living in Mali. Higher circulating malaria-specific antibody titers and increased pro-inflammatory cytokine levels have been shown in Fulani individuals. Several studies have tried to link haptoglobin (Hp) phenotypes with susceptibility to malaria, but without consensus. This study investigated the role of Hp phenotypes and cytokine levels in Dogon and Fulani during asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum infection.

Methods: Two different cohorts were combined in this study: a 2008 cohort with 77 children aged between two and ten years and a 2001 cohort, with 82 children and adults, aged between 11 and 68 years. Hp phenotypes in plasma were measured by Western Blot. Circulating levels of sCD163, IL-6, IL-10, IFN-γ and TNF were measured by ELISA. Multiple regression analysis was performed to associate Hp phenotypes with cytokine profiles. In addition, in vitro stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with Hp:Hb complexes was performed and cytokine release in corresponding supernatants were measured using cytometric bead array.

Results: The results revealed a higher Hp2-2 phenotype prevalence in the Fulani. The Hp2-2 phenotype was associated with a higher susceptibility to P. falciparum infection in Dogon, but not in Fulani. In concordance with previous studies, Fulani showed increased inflammatory mediators (IL-6, IFN-γ) and additionally also increased sCD163 levels compared to Dogon, irrespective of infection. Furthermore, infected individuals showed elevated sCD163 levels compared to uninfected individuals, in both Fulani and Dogon. Multiple regression analysis revealed that the Hp1-1 phenotype was associated with higher levels of TNF and IFN-γ, as compared to the Hp2-2 phenotype. In vitro stimulation of PBMCs with Hb:Hp1-1 complexes resulted in a pro-inflammatory cytokine profile, whilst stimulation with Hb:Hp2-2 complexes showed a more balanced profile.

Conclusions: Ethnicity might be an important confounder on the Hp phenotype-dependent susceptibility to malaria and future studies could consider taking this into account when designing new immunological studies. Although, the relatively small sample size used in this study warrens for precautions in the interpretation of the data and these findings should ideally be validated in a bigger cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-12-432DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4225596PMC
November 2013

Extended safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of a blood-stage malaria vaccine in malian children: 24-month follow-up of a randomized, double-blinded phase 2 trial.

PLoS One 2013 18;8(11):e79323. Epub 2013 Nov 18.

Malaria Group, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.

Background: The FMP2.1/AS02A candidate malaria vaccine was tested in a Phase 2 study in Mali. Based on results from the first eight months of follow-up, the vaccine appeared well-tolerated and immunogenic. It had no significant efficacy based on the primary endpoint, clinical malaria, but marginal efficacy against clinical malaria in secondary analyses, and high allele-specific efficacy. Extended follow-up was conducted to evaluate extended safety, immunogenicity and efficacy.

Methods: A randomized, double-blinded trial of safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of the candidate Plasmodium falciparum apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) vaccine FMP2.1/AS02A was conducted in Bandiagara, Mali. Children aged 1-6 years were randomized in a 1∶1 ratio to receive FMP2.1/AS02A or control rabies vaccine on days 0, 30 and 60. Using active and passive surveillance, clinical malaria and adverse events as well as antibodies against P. falciparum AMA1 were monitored for 24 months after the first vaccination, spanning two malaria seasons.

Findings: 400 children were enrolled. Serious adverse events occurred in nine participants in the FMP2.1/AS02A group and three in the control group; none was considered related to study vaccination. After two years, anti-AMA1 immune responses remained significantly higher in the FMP2.1/AS02A group than in the control group. For the entire 24-month follow-up period, vaccine efficacy was 7.6% (p = 0.51) against first clinical malaria episodes and 9.9% (p = 0.19) against all malaria episodes. For the final 16-month follow-up period, vaccine efficacy was 0.9% (p = 0.98) against all malaria episodes. Allele-specific efficacy seen in the first malaria season did not extend into the second season of follow-up.

Interpretation: Allele-specific vaccine efficacy was not sustained in the second malaria season, despite continued high levels of anti-AMA1 antibodies. This study presents an opportunity to evaluate correlates of partial protection against clinical malaria that waned during the second malaria season.

Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00460525 NCT00460525.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0079323PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3832522PMC
July 2014

Human candidate polymorphisms in sympatric ethnic groups differing in malaria susceptibility in Mali.

PLoS One 2013 2;8(10):e75675. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

Malaria Research and Training Center / Department of Epidemiology of Parasitic Diseases / Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Odonto - Stomatology, BP 1805, Bamako, USTTB, Mali ; Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.

Malaria still remains a major public health problem in Mali, although disease susceptibility varies between ethnic groups, particularly between the Fulani and Dogon. These two sympatric groups share similar socio-cultural factors and malaria transmission rates, but Fulani individuals tend to show significantly higher spleen enlargement scores, lower parasite prevalence, and seem less affected by the disease than their Dogon neighbours. We have used genetic polymorphisms from malaria-associated genes to investigate associations with various malaria metrics between the Fulanai and Dogon groups. Two cross sectional surveys (transmission season 2006, dry season 2007) were performed. Healthy volunteers from the both ethnic groups (n=939) were recruited in a rural setting. In each survey, clinical (spleen enlargement, axillary temperature, weight) and parasitological data (malaria parasite densities and species) were collected, as well as blood samples. One hundred and sixty six SNPs were genotyped and 5 immunoassays (AMA1, CSP, MSP1, MSP2, total IgE) were performed on the DNA and serum samples respectively. The data confirm the reduced malaria susceptibility in the Fulani, with a higher level of the protective O-blood group, and increased circulating antibody levels to several malaria antigens (p<10(-15)). We identified SNP allele frequency differences between the 2 ethnic groups in CD36, IL4, RTN3 and ADCY9. Moreover, polymorphisms in FCER1A, RAD50, TNF, SLC22A4, and IL13 genes were correlated with antibody production (p-value<0.003). Further work is required to understand the mechanisms underpinning these genetic factors.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0075675PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3788813PMC
June 2014

Inter-observer agreement according to malaria parasite density.

Malar J 2013 Sep 22;12:335. Epub 2013 Sep 22.

1512 Potomac Ave SE, Washington DC, USA.

Background: Recent developments in diagnostic techniques for malaria, particularly DNA probes and sero-immunology, have raised questions as to how these techniques might be used to facilitate malaria diagnosis at the most peripheral levels of the primary health care system. At present, malaria diagnosis is based on the standard microscopic examination of blood films in most field epidemiologic studies and is likely to remain so in the immediate future in Africa. The objective of this study was to assess inter-observer agreement for the examination of Giemsa-stained slides for Plasmodium falciparum parasites.

Methods: Children aged 0 to 10 years were enrolled yearly in Bancoumana village (West Africa), mainly during the transmission season (June to October). The blood smears obtained from the persistently negative children in June 1996, August 1996, October 1996 and March 1997 were systematically re-examined. A stratified random sample (10%) proportional to the following parasite density classes 1-100, 101-5000, and 5001 and over was taken from the slides collected. The kappa statistics and the intra-class correlation were used as measures of agreement the first and the second slide examinations.

Results: The weighted kappa statistic, widely used as a chance-corrected measure for nominal agreement, showed excellent inter-observer agreement (κ(w)=0.7926; 95% CI [0.7588, 0.8263]; p=0.01). The intra-class correlation co-efficient had the same value of 0.7926 confirming the appropriateness of the weighted kappa statistic. Inter-observer agreement for slides read as negative by one observer, or as containing more than 100 parasites per μl, was excellent: 97% (493/506) and 92% (145/158), respectively. In contrast, the inter-observer agreement for slides read by one observer as containing 1-100 parasites/μl was poor, 36% (96/268).

Conclusions: In field conditions in Mali, there was a high reproducibility for slides reported as negative or as having more than 100 parasites per μl. However, smears with readings of 1-100 parasites per μl were less reproducible and should be re-examined carefully.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-12-335DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3849530PMC
September 2013

Safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of a booster dose of the 10-valent pneumococcal non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae protein D conjugate vaccine (PHiD-CV) in Malian children.

Hum Vaccin Immunother 2013 Feb 4;9(2):382-8. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

Malaria Research and Training Centre; Faculty of Medicine; Pharmacy and Dentistry; University of Bamako; Bamako, Mali; Department of Public Health; Faculty of Medicine; Pharmacy and Dentistry; University of Bamako; Bamako, Mali.

Background: Primary vaccination with the 10-valent pneumococcal non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae protein D conjugate vaccine (PHiD-CV) was previously shown to be immunogenic and well tolerated in Malian children. Data on booster vaccination with a fourth consecutive dose of PHiD-CV are available for Europe, Asia and Latin America but are lacking for Africa. The present study evaluated further the safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of a fourth consecutive (booster) dose of PHiD-CV.

Results: Low incidences of AEs with grade 3 intensity (2.1% of subjects) were observed. There were no reports of large swelling reactions and serious adverse events. One month post-booster vaccination, for each vaccine pneumococcal serotype, at least 97.8% of subjects had antibody concentrations ≥ 0.2 μg/ml, and at least 97.1% of subjects had opsonophagocytic activity ≥ 8. From pre- to post-booster, a 12.3-fold increase in anti-protein D geometric mean concentration was observed.

Methods: This phase III, open-label study was conducted in Ouelessebougou, Mali, between November 2009 and June 2010. The study population consisted of Malian children previously primed (3 doses) with PHiD-CV in study NCT00678301 receiving a fourth consecutive (booster) dose of PHiD-CV in the second year of life. The incidences of adverse events (AEs) with grade 3 intensity (primary objective) or of any intensity (secondary objective), and the immunogenicity (secondary objective) of the PHiD-CV booster dose were assessed.

Conclusion: A booster dose of PHiD-CV was well tolerated when administered to Malian children in the second year of life and was highly immunogenic for all 10 vaccine pneumococcal serotypes and NTHi protein D. (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00985465).
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3859761PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/hv.22692DOI Listing
February 2013

B cell analysis of ethnic groups in Mali with differential susceptibility to malaria.

Malar J 2012 May 11;11:162. Epub 2012 May 11.

Laboratory of Immunogenetics, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.

Background: Several studies indicate that people of the Fulani ethnic group are less susceptible to malaria compared to those of other ethnic groups living sympatrically in Africa, including the Dogon ethnic group. Although the mechanisms of this protection remain unclear, the Fulani are known to have higher levels of Plasmodium falciparum-specific antibodies of all Ig classes as compared to the Dogon. However, the proportions of B cell subsets in the Fulani and Dogon that may account for differences in the levels of Ig have not been characterized.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, venous blood was collected from asymptomatic Fulani (n = 25) and Dogon (n = 25) adults in Mali during the malaria season, and from P. falciparum-naïve adults in the U.S. (n = 8). At the time of the blood collection, P. falciparum infection was detected by blood-smear in 16% of the Fulani and 36% of the Dogon volunteers. Thawed lymphocytes were analysed by flow cytometry to quantify B cell subsets, including immature and naïve B cells; plasma cells; and classical, activated, and atypical memory B cells (MBCs).

Results: The overall distribution of B cell subsets was similar between Fulani and Dogon adults, although the percentage of activated MBCs was higher in the Fulani group (Fulani: 11.07% [95% CI: 9.317 - 12.82]; Dogon: 8.31% [95% CI: 6.378 - 10.23]; P = 0.016). The percentage of atypical MBCs was similar between Fulani and Dogon adults (Fulani: 28.3% [95% CI: 22.73 - 34.88]; Dogon: 29.3% [95% CI: 25.06 - 33.55], but higher than U.S. adults (U.S.: 3.0% [95% CI: -0.21 - 6.164]; P < 0.001). Plasmodium falciparum infection was associated with a higher percentage of plasma cells among Fulani (Fulani infected: 3.3% [95% CI: 1.788 - 4.744]; Fulani uninfected: 1.71% [95% CI: 1.33 - 2.08]; P = 0.011), but not Dogon adults.

Conclusion: These data show that the malaria-resistant Fulani have a higher percentage of activated MBCs compared to the Dogon, and that P. falciparum infection is associated with a higher percentage of plasma cells in the Fulani compared to the Dogon, findings that may account for the higher levels of P. falciparum antibodies in the Fulani.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-11-162DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3507766PMC
May 2012

Changes in the levels of cytokines, chemokines and malaria-specific antibodies in response to Plasmodium falciparum infection in children living in sympatry in Mali.

Malar J 2012 Apr 5;11:109. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Department of Immunology, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Svante Arrheniusväg 20C, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden.

Background: The Fulani are known to be less susceptible to Plasmodium falciparum malaria as reflected by lower parasitaemia and fewer clinical symptoms than other sympatric ethnic groups. So far most studies in these groups have been performed on adults, which is why little is known about these responses in children. This study was designed to provide more information on this gap.

Methods: Circulating inflammatory factors and antibody levels in children from the Fulani and Dogon ethnic groups were measured. The inflammatory cytokines; interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and the chemokines; regulated on activation normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES), monokine-induced by IFN-gamma (MIG), monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 and IFN-gamma-inducible protein (IP)-10 were measured by cytometric bead arrays. The levels of interferon (IFN)-alpha, IFN-gamma and malaria-specific antibodies; immunoglobulin (Ig) G, IgM and IgG subclasses (IgG1-IgG4) were measured by ELISA.

Results: The results revealed that the Fulani children had higher levels of all tested cytokines compared to the Dogon, in particular IFN-gamma, a cytokine known to be involved in parasite clearance. Out of all the tested chemokines, only MCP-1 was increased in the Fulani compared to the Dogon. When dividing the children into infected and uninfected individuals, infected Dogon had significantly lower levels of RANTES compared to their uninfected peers, and significantly higher levels of MIG and IP-10 as well as MCP-1, although the latter did not reach statistical significance. In contrast, such patterns were not seen in the infected Fulani children and their chemokine levels remained unchanged upon infection compared to uninfected counterparts. Furthermore, the Fulani also had higher titres of malaria-specific IgG and IgM as well as IgG1-3 subclasses compared to the Dogon.

Conclusions: Taken together, this study demonstrates, in accordance with previous work, that Fulani children mount a stronger inflammatory and antibody response against P. falciparum parasites compared to the Dogon and that these differences are evident already at an early age. The inflammatory responses in the Fulani were not influenced by an active infection which could explain why less clinical symptoms are seen in this group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-11-109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3366880PMC
April 2012

False-negative rapid diagnostic tests for malaria and deletion of the histidine-rich repeat region of the hrp2 gene.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2012 Feb;86(2):194-8

Mali-Tulane Tropical Medicine Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dentistry, University of Bamako, Bamako, Mali.

We identified 480 persons with positive thick smears for asexual Plasmodium falciparum parasites, of whom 454 had positive rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for the histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) product of the hrp2 gene and 26 had negative tests. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification for the histidine-rich repeat region of that gene was negative in one-half (10/22) of false-negative specimens available, consistent with spontaneous deletion. False-negative RDTs were found only in persons with asymptomatic infections, and multiplicities of infection (MOIs) were lower in persons with false-negative RDTs (both P < 0.001). These results show that parasites that fail to produce HRP2 can cause patent bloodstream infections and false-negative RDT results. The importance of these observations is likely to increase as malaria control improves, because lower MOIs are associated with false-negative RDTs and false-negative RDTs are more frequent in persons with asymptomatic infections. These findings suggest that the use of HRP2-based RDTs should be reconsidered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2012.10-0665DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3269266PMC
February 2012

Haematological parameters, natural regulatory CD4 + CD25 + FOXP3+ T cells and γδ T cells among two sympatric ethnic groups having different susceptibility to malaria in Burkina Faso.

BMC Res Notes 2012 Jan 27;5:76. Epub 2012 Jan 27.

Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Background: Fulani ethnic group individuals are less susceptible than sympatric Mossi ethnic group, in term of malaria infection severity, and differ in antibody production against malaria antigens. The differences in susceptibility to malaria between Fulani and Mossi ethnic groups are thought to be regulated by different genetic backgrounds and offer the opportunity to compare haematological parameters, Tregs and γδT cell profiles in seasonal and stable malaria transmission settings in Burkina Faso. The study was conducted at two different time points i.e. during the high and low malaria transmission period.

Results: Two cross-sectional surveys were undertaken in adults above 20 years belonging either to the Fulani or the Mossi ethnic groups 1) at the peak of the malaria transmission season and 2) during the middle of the low malaria transmission season. Full blood counts, proportions of Tregs and γδ T cells were measured at both time-points.As previously shown the Fulani and Mossi ethnic groups showed a consistent difference in P. falciparum infection rates and parasite load. Differential white blood cell counts showed that the absolute lymphocyte counts were higher in the Mossi than in the Fulani ethnic group at both time points. While the proportion of CD4+CD25high was higher in the Fulani ethnic group at the peak of malaria transmission season (p = 0.03), no clear pattern emerged for T regulatory cells expressing FoxP3+ and CD127low. However CD3+γδ+ subpopulations were found to be higher in the Fulani compared to the Mossi ethnic group, and this difference was statistically significant at both time-points (p = 0.004 at low transmission season and p = 0.04 at peak of transmission).

Conclusion: Our findings on regulatory T cell phenotypes suggest an interesting role for immune regulatory mechanisms in response to malaria. The study also suggests that TCRγδ + cells might contribute to the protection against malaria in the Fulani ethnic group involving their reported parasite inhibitory activities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-0500-5-76DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3292809PMC
January 2012

Primary vaccination with the 10-valent pneumococcal non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae protein D conjugate vaccine (PHiD-CV) in infants in Mali and Nigeria: a randomized controlled trial.

BMC Public Health 2011 Nov 23;11:882. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Malaria Research and Training Center, Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry, University of Bamako, P,O, Box 1805, Bamako, Mali.

Background: Pneumonia is still the leading cause of death among children in Africa, and pneumococcal serotypes 1 and 5 are frequently isolated from African children with invasive pneumococcal disease below the age of 5 years. The immunogenicity, safety and reactogenicity of 3-dose primary vaccination with the 10-valent pneumococcal non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae protein D conjugate vaccine (PHiD-CV) were evaluated in infants in Mali and Nigeria.

Methods: In an open, randomized, controlled study, 357 infants received DTPw-HBV/Hib and OPV primary vaccination with (PHiD-CV group) or without (control group) PHiD-CV co-administration at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age. Pneumococcal antibody responses and opsonophagocytic activity (OPA) were measured and adverse events (AEs) recorded.

Results: One month post-dose 3, ≥ 97.2% of PHiD-CV-vaccinated infants had an antibody concentration ≥ 0.2 μg/mL for each vaccine pneumococcal serotype except for 6B (82.0%) and 23F (87.6%) versus < 10% in the control group except for serotypes 14 (35.7%) and 19F (22.5%). For each vaccine serotype, ≥ 93.3% of PHiD-CV recipients had an OPA titre ≥ 8, except for serotypes 1 (87.6%) and 6B (85.4%), compared to < 10% in the control group, except for serotypes 7F (42.9%), 9V (24.1%) and 14 (24.5%). Anti-protein D geometric mean antibody concentrations were 3791.8 and 85.4 EL.U/mL in the PHiD-CV and control groups, respectively. Overall incidences of solicited and unsolicited AEs were similar between groups.

Conclusions: In sub-Saharan African infants, PHiD-CV was immunogenic for all vaccine pneumococcal serotypes and protein D. Vaccine tolerability was generally comparable between the PHiD-CV and control groups.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00678301.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-11-882DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3267728PMC
November 2011

A field trial to assess a blood-stage malaria vaccine.

N Engl J Med 2011 Sep;365(11):1004-13

Malaria Research and Training Center, University of Bamako, Bamako, Mali.

Background: Blood-stage malaria vaccines are intended to prevent clinical disease. The malaria vaccine FMP2.1/AS02(A), a recombinant protein based on apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) from the 3D7 strain of Plasmodium falciparum, has previously been shown to have immunogenicity and acceptable safety in Malian adults and children.

Methods: In a double-blind, randomized trial, we immunized 400 Malian children with either the malaria vaccine or a control (rabies) vaccine and followed them for 6 months. The primary end point was clinical malaria, defined as fever and at least 2500 parasites per cubic millimeter of blood. A secondary end point was clinical malaria caused by parasites with the AMA1 DNA sequence found in the vaccine strain.

Results: The cumulative incidence of the primary end point was 48.4% in the malaria-vaccine group and 54.4% in the control group; efficacy against the primary end point was 17.4% (hazard ratio for the primary end point, 0.83; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63 to 1.09; P=0.18). Efficacy against the first and subsequent episodes of clinical malaria, as defined on the basis of various parasite-density thresholds, was approximately 20%. Efficacy against clinical malaria caused by parasites with AMA1 corresponding to that of the vaccine strain was 64.3% (hazard ratio, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.86; P=0.03). Local reactions and fever after vaccination were more frequent with the malaria vaccine.

Conclusions: On the basis of the primary end point, the malaria vaccine did not provide significant protection against clinical malaria, but on the basis of secondary results, it may have strain-specific efficacy. If this finding is confirmed, AMA1 might be useful in a multicomponent malaria vaccine. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00460525.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1008115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3242358PMC
September 2011

Cytokine gene haplotypes with a potential effect on susceptibility to malaria in sympatric ethnic groups in Mali.

Infect Genet Evol 2011 Oct 25;11(7):1608-15. Epub 2011 Jun 25.

Department of Immunology, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.

Cytokines are important players in the immune responses, and an unbalance in pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine responses may affect parasitemia and pathology in a Plasmodium falciparum infection. Polymorphisms in cytokine genes may affect not only the levels of the protein, but many down-stream functions, such as production of C-reactive protein and immunoglobulin isotype switching. Susceptibility to malaria has been shown to differ between individuals with different genetic backgrounds, as indicated by studies in Fulani and non-Fulani ethnic groups. The aim of this study was to investigate possible interethnic differences in totally twelve single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the genes encoding the cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10 and TNF. These SNPs are present in the promoter region of the genes, and have previously been associated with cytokine expression and with disease outcome in malaria. The results from the present study suggest that the Fulani ethnic group has a more pro-inflammatory response, due to high frequencies of high-producing alleles of IL1β and low-producing alleles of IL10. IL-6 could potentially also contribute to the relatively lower susceptibility to malaria in the Fulani ethnic group, whereas the TNF polymorphisms analysed in this study rather seem to associate with the severity of the infection and not the susceptibility for the infection itself. We therefore suggest that the polymorphisms analysed in this study all show a potential to influence the relatively lower susceptibility to malaria seen in the Fulani ethnic group as compared to the other sympatric ethnic groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2011.05.021DOI Listing
October 2011

Interethnic differences in antigen-presenting cell activation and TLR responses in Malian children during Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

PLoS One 2011 Mar 31;6(3):e18319. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Department of Immunology, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.

The Fulani ethnic group from West Africa is relatively better protected against Plasmodium falciparum malaria as compared to other sympatric ethnic groups, such as the Dogon. However, the mechanisms behind this lower susceptibility to malaria are largely unknown, particularly those concerning innate immunity. Antigen-presenting cells (APCs), and in particular dendritic cells (DCs) are important components of the innate and adaptive immune systems. Therefore, in this study we investigated whether APCs obtained from Fulani and Dogon children exhibited differences in terms of activation status and toll-like receptor (TLR) responses during malaria infection. Lower frequency and increased activation was observed in circulating plasmacytoid DCs and BDCA-3+ myeloid DCs of infected Fulani as compared to their uninfected counterparts. Conversely, a higher frequency and reduced activation was observed in the same DC subsets obtained from peripheral blood of P. falciparum-infected Dogon children as compared to their uninfected peers. Moreover, infected individuals of both ethnic groups exhibited higher percentages of both classical and inflammatory monocytes that were less activated as compared to their non-infected counterparts. In line with APC impairment during malaria infection, TLR4, TLR7 and TLR9 responses were strongly inhibited by P. falciparum infection in Dogon children, while no such TLR inhibition was observed in the Fulani children. Strikingly, the TLR-induced IFN-γ release was completely abolished in the Dogon undergoing infection while no difference was seen within infected and non-infected Fulani. Thus, P. falciparum infection is associated with altered activation status of important APC subsets and strongly inhibited TLR responses in peripheral blood of Dogon children. In contrast, P. falciparum induces DC activation and does not affect the innate response to specific TLR ligands in Fulani children. These findings suggest that DCs and TLR signalling may be of importance for the protective immunity against malaria observed in the Fulani.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0018319PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3069068PMC
March 2011

Lactase persistence genotypes and malaria susceptibility in Fulani of Mali.

Malar J 2011 Jan 14;10. Epub 2011 Jan 14.

Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Fulani are a widely spread African ethnic group characterized by lower susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum, clinical malaria morbidity and higher rate of lactase persistence compared to sympatric tribes. Lactase non-persistence, often called lactose intolerance, is the normal condition where lactase activity in the intestinal wall declines after weaning. Lactase persistence, common in Europe, and in certain African people with traditions of raising cattle, is caused by polymorphisms in the enhancer region approximately 14 kb upstream of the lactase gene.

Methods: To evaluate the relationship between malaria and lactase persistence genotypes, a 400 bp region surrounding the main European C/T-13910 polymorphism upstream of the lactase gene was sequenced. DNA samples used in the study originated from 162 Fulani and 79 Dogon individuals from Mali.

Results: Among 79 Dogon only one heterozygote of the lactase enhancer polymorphism was detected, whereas all others were homozygous for the ancestral C allele. Among the Fulani, the main European polymorphism at locus C/T-13910 was by far the most common polymorphism, with an allele frequency of 37%. Three other single-nucleotide polymorphisms were found with allele frequencies of 3.7%, 1.9% and 0.6% each. The novel DNA polymorphism T/C-13906 was seen in six heterozygous Fulani. Among the Fulani with lactase non-persistence CC genotypes at the C/T-13910 locus, 24% had malaria parasites detectable by microscopy compared to 18% for lactase persistent genotypes (P = 0.29). Pooling the lactase enhancer polymorphisms to a common presumptive genotype gave 28% microscopy positives for non-persistent and 17% for others (P = 0.11).

Conclusions: Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia in asymptomatic Fulani is more common in individuals with lactase non-persistence genotypes, but this difference is not statistically significant. The potential immunoprotective properties of dietary cow milk as a reason for the partial malaria resistance of Fulani warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-10-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3031279PMC
January 2011

Memory-like IFN-γ response by NK cells following malaria infection reveals the crucial role of T cells in NK cell activation by P. falciparum.

Eur J Immunol 2010 Dec;40(12):3472-7

Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

NK cells are rapid IFN-γ responders to Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes (PfRBC) in vitro and are involved in controlling early parasitaemia in murine models, yet little is known about their contribution to immune responses following malaria infection in humans. Here, we studied the dynamics of and requirements for in vitro NK responses to PfRBC in malaria-naïve volunteers undergoing a single experimental malaria infection under highly controlled circumstances, and in naturally exposed individuals. NK-specific IFN-γ responses to PfRBC following exposure resembled an immunological recall pattern and were tightly correlated with T-cell responses. However, although PBMC depleted of CD56(+) cells retained 20-55% of their total IFN-γ response to PfRBC, depletion of CD3(+) cells completely abrogated the ability of remaining PBMC, including NK cells, to produce IFN-γ. Although NK responses to PfRBC were partially dependent on endogenous IL-2 signaling and could be augmented by exogenous IL-2 in whole PBMC populations, this factor alone was insufficient to rescue NK responses in the absence of T cells. Thus, NK cells make a significant contribution to total IFN-γ production in response to PfRBC as a consequence of their dependency on (memory) T-cell help, with likely positive implications for malaria vaccine development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eji.201040587DOI Listing
December 2010

Persistence of full-length caspase-12 and its relation to malaria in West and Central African populations.

Eur Cytokine Netw 2010 Jun 27;21(2):77-83. Epub 2010 Apr 27.

Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Background: The full-length (L-) variant of caspase-12 is believed to predispose to sepsis. It has been replaced in the genome of most human populations by the (S-) variant, which leads to premature termination of translation. Strikingly, the L-allele is still widely prevalent in African populations, presumably due to a counterbalancing selective force specific to this continent, for which malaria is a prime candidate.

Methods: We investigated associations between caspase-12 genotype and malarial parameters in three West-African populations, in studies encompassing immunological, clinical and obstetric data.

Results: The caspase-12 L-allele was found at frequencies of 11-34%. Plasmodium falciparum-stimulated mononuclear cells from S/L heterozygote donors produced stronger interferon-gamma and interleukin-10 responses than S/S homozygotes (p = 0.011 and p = 0.023 in uninfected and infected donors respectively). Nevertheless, we found no association between caspase-12 genotype and either the presentation of severe malaria or individual clinical parameters in sick children. Amongst pregnant women, the caspase-12 genotype did not influence peripheral or placental malaria infection, or basic obstetric parameters. Interestingly, perinatal mortality was more frequent in children of both S/S and L/L than S/L mothers, independent of placental P. falciparum-infection.

Conclusion: We find little clinical or epidemiological evidence that malaria has contributed to the persistence of functional caspase-12 in Africa, suggesting either that alternative selective forces are at work or that genetic drift underlies its current global distribution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1684/ecn.2010.0187DOI Listing
June 2010

Safety and immunogenicity of an AMA1 malaria vaccine in Malian children: results of a phase 1 randomized controlled trial.

PLoS One 2010 Feb 4;5(2):e9041. Epub 2010 Feb 4.

Malaria Research and Training Center, University of Bamako, Bamako, Mali.

Background: The objective was to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the AMA1-based malaria vaccine FMP2.1/AS02(A) in children exposed to seasonal falciparum malaria.

Methodology/principal Findings: A Phase 1 double blind randomized controlled dose escalation trial was conducted in Bandiagara, Mali, West Africa, a rural town with intense seasonal transmission of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The malaria vaccine FMP2.1/AS02(A) is a recombinant protein (FMP2.1) based on apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) from the 3D7 clone of P. falciparum, formulated in the Adjuvant System AS02(A). The comparator vaccine was a cell-culture rabies virus vaccine (RabAvert). One hundred healthy Malian children aged 1-6 years were recruited into 3 cohorts and randomized to receive either 10 microg FMP2.1 in 0.1 mL AS02(A), or 25 microg FMP2.1 in 0.25 mL AS02(A), or 50 microg FMP2.1 50 microg in 0.5 mL AS02(A), or rabies vaccine. Three doses of vaccine were given at 0, 1 and 2 months, and children were followed for 1 year. Solicited symptoms were assessed for 7 days and unsolicited symptoms for 30 days after each vaccination. Serious adverse events were assessed throughout the study. Transient local pain and swelling were common and more frequent in all malaria vaccine dosage groups than in the comparator group, but were acceptable to parents of participants. Levels of anti-AMA1 antibodies measured by ELISA increased significantly (at least 100-fold compared to baseline) in all 3 malaria vaccine groups, and remained high during the year of follow up.

Conclusion/significance: The FMP2.1/AS02(A) vaccine had a good safety profile, was well-tolerated, and induced high and sustained antibody levels in malaria-exposed children. This malaria vaccine is being evaluated in a Phase 2 efficacy trial in children at this site.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00358332 [NCT00358332].
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0009041PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2816207PMC
February 2010

A molecular map of chloroquine resistance in Mali.

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 2010 Feb 2;58(1):113-8. Epub 2009 Nov 2.

Department of Epidemiology of Parasitic Diseases, Malaria Research and Training Center, Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Odonto-Stomatology, University of Bamako, Mali, West Africa.

Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance (CQR) transporter point mutation (PfCRT 76T) is known to be the key determinant of CQR. Molecular detection of PfCRT 76T in field samples may be used for the surveillance of CQR in malaria-endemic countries. The genotype-resistance index (GRI), which is obtained as the ratio of the prevalence of PfCRT 76T to the incidence of CQR in a clinical trial, was proposed as a simple and practical molecular-based addition to the tools currently available for monitoring CQR in the field. In order to validate the GRI model across populations, time, and resistance patterns, we compiled data from the literature and generated new data from 12 sites across Mali. We found a mean PfCRT 76T mutation prevalence of 84.5% (range 60.9-95.1%) across all sites. CQR rates predicted from the GRI model were extrapolated onto a map of Mali to show the patterns of resistance throughout the participating regions. We present a comprehensive map of CQR in Mali, which strongly supports recent changes in drug policy away from chloroquine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-695X.2009.00641.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3050054PMC
February 2010
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