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Human immune system response to trypanosomes

About microscopic forms of life, including Bacteria, Archea, protozoans, algae and fungi. Topics relating to viruses, viroids and prions also belong here.

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Human immune system response to trypanosomes

Postby Burnsey » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:12 pm

Hey everyone,

Would anyone happen to know the average time it takes for a healthy human's immune system to detect a trypanosome, before it changes its coat? I know it's quite a vague question, but by how much, if it's measurable, does the population usually decline before a new coat is expressed, and does the switch have any bearing on how long it'll take the immune system to find it again? Would it be possible to somehow take the genes responsible out, somehow "copy paste" them into a "shell" so it could replicate itself, without all the nasty effects a trypanosome can have? For the first time ever, google has failed me >.>

Sorry for the 20 questions. It's for an idea my old bio teacher gave me last year. Thanks for any help advice you can give.
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Re: Human immune system response to trypanosomes

Postby Darby » Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:39 pm

I may be wrong on this, but my recollection is that the surface markers shift across the population over time, rather than as a response to antibodies - each wave of antibodies removes the "old marker" individuals, but it takes time to make ones for the new markers, and then newer ones have generated in some individuals.
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Postby MrMistery » Sat Apr 19, 2008 9:44 am

no, you are correct. The coat changes by antigenic drift, just like the HIV virus for example.
And no, the change has no bearing on how fast the immune system will make antibodies for the new coat. In immunology, we refer to this as primary antibody response: it will take the body approximately two weeks to make an antibody for an antigen it has come into contact for the first time. If it comes into contact with the same antibody, secondary immunization occurs: the response takes about a week, and is about 100 times more powerful. The trick with antigenic drift is that the body keeps making new antibodies, and secondary immunization never occurs.
"As a biologist, I firmly believe that when you're dead, you're dead. Except for what you live behind in history. That's the only afterlife" - J. Craig Venter
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