Disease trade-off: Malaria resistance comes with higher risk for multiple sclerosis, lupus

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When it comes to human evolution and survival, fighting off one disease can sometimes mean that a person becomes more susceptible to another.

In the latest example of this finely balanced fight, new research reveals that a genetic mutation that increased resistance to malaria in one group of people also increased their rates of the autoimmune diseases of multiple sclerosis and lupus.

By identifying the gene mechanism at play, the researchers said they may have illuminated a way to tamp down the haywire autoimmune responses that lead to multiple sclerosis and lupus.

For the study, researchers combed through genetic data from people living on Sardinia, an Italian island. Although people there are famous for their longevity, the population also has some of the world’s highest rates of multiple sclerosis and lupus…After analyzing more than 2,000 patients from Sardinia, the team zeroed in on a genetic mutation in a gene called TNFSF13B.

The researchers speculated that the mutation’s prevalence in Sardinia could be traced to malaria outbreaks that once persisted on the island.

[Read the original source here]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Italian Island’s Mutation Fights Malaria, But Raises Risk of Other Diseases

For more background on the Genetic Literacy Project, read GLP on Wikipedia

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