Seasonal childhood anaemia in West Africa is associated with the haptoglobin 2-2 genotypeIn a study done in West Africa, Dr. Sarah Atkinson and colleagues from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London showed an association between a particular type of haptoglobin (Hp2-2) and anemia in children, in an area where malaria is very common. Haptoglobin is a protein that picks up the free hemoglobin which is released after red cells are damaged by malaria. This increased occurrence of anemia in these children may be because the particular type of haptoglobin, Hp2-2, is less able pick up the hemoglobin released from red cells. One suggested explanation of why this genetic variant remains in the population despite being associated with anemia is that it may provide protection from life-threatening malaria. In a related perspective, Stephen Rogerson from the Royal Melbourne Hospital discusses further the implications of the study.
Citation: Atkinson SH, Rockett K, Sirugo G, Bejon PA, Fulford A, et al (2006) Seasonal childhood anaemia in West Africa is associated with the haptoglobin 2-2 genotype. PLoS Med 3(5): e172.
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London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Nutrition and Public Health Intervention Unit
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Related PLoS Medicine Perspective article:
Citation: Rogerson S (2006) What is the relationship between haptoglobin, malaria, and anaemia? PLoS Med 3(5): e200.
PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-05-rogerson.pdf
Royal Melbourne Hospital
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