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Monday, May 16, 2011

Australia : Malaria prevents further super-infections

Article from ABC News, excerpt :

" A full-blown malaria infection provides protection against new infections of the parasite by activating a hormone that starves liver cells of iron, a new study has found.

The research has implications for the use of iron supplementation to treat anaemia - one of the major side-effects of malaria - particularly in young children in countries where the disease is rife.

A group of international researchers led by Dr Maria Mota from the Universidade de Lisboa in Portugal found that malaria parasites in mice trigger the production of hepcidin, a hormone that reduces the availability of iron in the liver, when the parasites reach critical mass in the blood.

This in turn prevents new infections taking hold in liver cells and advancing to the blood stage, the researchers report in a study published today in Nature Medicine.

"We now show for the first time the crucial role of iron in the establishment of super-infection or multiple malarial infections," says Mota."

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