A review of the genetic epidemiology of resistance to parasitic disease and atopic asthma: Common variants for common phenotypes?

Kathleen C. Barnes, Audrey V. Grant, Peisong Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose of review: An inverse relationship between resistance to certain parasitic diseases and measures of atopy and asthma has long been observed. A possible explanation is that genetic determinants which confer protection against detrimental worm burdens are the same determinants involved in atopic asthma. The focus of this review is to consider the potential candidate genes that have been elucidated as part of molecular, genomic and genetic studies of parasite biology, host-parasite interactions and classic genetic epidemiology studies on parasitic disease and allergic asthma. Recent findings: Comparative studies of the Plasmodium and Schistosoma spp. genomes have revealed a number of proteins that are homologous to humans. A number of linkage and association studies on susceptibility/resistance to parasitic diseases, including malaria and schistosomiasis, overlap with associations that have been identified for susceptibility to atopy and asthma. Summary: In response to parasitic approaches in maintaining survival, the human host has evolved genetic adaptations that minimize severe manifestations of disease, which conversely appear to contribute to allergic disease. A clearer understanding of this process will elucidate the complex pathways and mechanisms involved in these traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-385
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in allergy and clinical immunology
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2005

Keywords

  • Atopy
  • Genes
  • Parasite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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