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How does sickle cell anemia prevent Malaria?

Genetics as it applies to evolution, molecular biology, and medical aspects.

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How does sickle cell anemia prevent Malaria?

Postby Oscerot » Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:05 am

So I just learned this today. How does having sickle cell make you immune to malaria?
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Postby canalon » Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:54 am

Well sickle is due to cristallization of hemoglobine. This crystallization besides making Hemoglobine unable to carry out its function tends to breaks nearby memebrane, including those of the parasite causing malaria.
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Postby Oscerot » Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:37 am

But if the malaria doesn't kill you, won't the sickle cell itself?
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Postby sachin » Wed Jan 17, 2007 2:43 pm

Oscerot wrote:But if the malaria doesn't kill you, won't the sickle cell itself?


I it will......... But it will atleast prevent much complications caused by combined problem of both... :wink:
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Postby canalon » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:31 pm

In fact the thing is that when you are heterozygitic for the mutant Hb gene, you do not suffer from anemia, but you are still protected from malaria. Hence the widespread of the gene.
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Postby mith » Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:21 pm

Sickle cell is not the only genetic defense against malaria

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duffy_antigen
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Postby Dustfinger » Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:47 am

In African Malaria areas there are many heterozygotic sickle cell anaemia people coz they don't suffer of the illness and only survive more often because they are immune against Malaria.
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Postby kjle » Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:18 pm

canalon wrote:Well sickle is due to cristallization of hemoglobine. This crystallization besides making Hemoglobine unable to carry out its function tends to breaks nearby memebrane, including those of the parasite causing malaria.


hmm, I always heard that it was because the malaria virus couldn't bind to the blood cell because of it's deformed shape
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Postby MrMistery » Mon Jan 22, 2007 5:02 pm

first of all malaria is not caused by a virus, it is caused by a protozoan called Plasmodium falciparum var malariae. And the problem it incounters is living inside the blood cells, not getting in..
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Postby canalon » Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:26 pm

I can also be wrong Andrew, I actually read that years ago, and my meory is not what I wish it was. In fact an attachment problem can make a lot of sense in light of a protozoan entry.
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Postby kjle » Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:51 pm

MrMistery wrote:first of all malaria is not caused by a virus, it is caused by a protozoan called Plasmodium falciparum var malariae. And the problem it incounters is living inside the blood cells, not getting in..


Sorry, my ignorance is showing again, :oops: lol


But ya, so what's the consensus here?
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Postby MrMistery » Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:40 pm

my book does not explain it so well, it only says this: because of the fibers formed by the abnormal hemoglobine, it is impossible for the protozoan to live inside the red blood cells.

I do not see how it could have problems attaching to the red blood cells in case of sickle cell anemia. I mean, the proteins un the surface remain the same...
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