A common TLR1 polymorphism is associated with higher parasitaemia in a Southeast Asian population with Plasmodium falciparum malaria
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BACKGROUND: The factors leading to poor outcomes in malaria infection are incompletely understood. Common genetic variation exists in the human genes for Toll like receptors (TLRs) that alter host responses to pathogen-associated molecular patterns. Genetic variation in TLR1 and TLR6 could alter the risk of development of complicated malaria and ability of the host to control the parasite burden during acute Plasmodium falciparum infection. METHODS: Five single nucleotide polymorphisms in TLR1 and TLR6 in 432 patients with clinical P. falciparum monoinfection acquired on the Thai-Myanmar border were genotyped. Using logistic regression, associations with the development of complicated malaria and the percentage of infected erythrocytes (parasitaemia) on the day of presentation to clinical care (day zero) were tested. RESULTS: Genotypes carrying the T (major) allele of TLR1 rs5743551--an allele associated with improved outcomes in sepsis--were associated with higher parasitaemia measured on day zero (p = 0.03). DISCUSSION: Since malaria exerts strong genetic pressure on the human genome, protection from parasitaemia associated with TLR1 rs5743551 may account for the maintenance of an allele associated with poor outcomes in Caucasians with sepsis. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that genetic variation in TLR1 has effects on the host response to Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Asian populations. Genotypes from TLR6 showed no evidence of association with either complicated malaria or parasite burden.
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