Background Despite several interventions through malaria control programmes, asymptomatic malaria is a major barrier to control as asymptomatic individuals serve as reservoirs from which others are re-infected. The mechanism by which these individuals remain asymptomatic is not well understood. Much work has been done in relation to human genes and their association to severe, mild and uncomplicated malaria. However, there is limited knowledge regarding host genetic factors and asymptomatic malaria.
Method In this study, we investigated the association between host genetic polymorphisms of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase gene (G6PD), mannose binding lectin (MBLG54A), tumor necrotic factor alpha (TNF-G308A) and nitric oxide synthase 2 (NOS2-G954C) and the outcome of asymptomatic P. falciparum malaria in 150 healthy individuals in southern Ghana.
Results We found a significant association between G6PDd and asymptomatic malaria with a prevalence of 9.6% (p=0.035, by chi-square test). All the individuals who were heterozygous and hemizygote deficient (5.3% and 4.3%) were found to be asymptomatic. Individuals homozygous (GG) for TNF (G308A) were found to be highly asymptomatic (p=0.019, by chi-square test). Regarding MBL (G54A) and NOS (G954C), no significant association was found between these markers and asymptomatic malaria.
Conclusion Upon reviewing our data with other data from published work, we conclude that both heterozygous and hemizygous individuals with G6PD A- and homozygous individuals (GG) of TNF (G308A) polymorphisms could be predisposed genetically to asymptomatic malaria.
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