How ancestry shapes our immune cells

06.06.2017 -

In a new study led by IPEK (LMU) scientists Dr. Johan Duchêne, Professor Christian Weber and Professor Antal Rot (also at University of York), an international team of biomedical researchers has now shown how the Duffy-negative variant affects the differentiation of white blood cells and why it leads to a relative paucity of circulating neutrophils. The findings appear in the current issue of the journal Nature Immunology.

A genetic variant that is particularly prevalent in people of African ancestry confers protection against malaria. LMU researchers have now shown how it modulates the properties of white blood cells that play a major role in immune defenses and inflammation.

Virtually the entire population of sub-Saharan Africa, and some 70% of African Americans, carry a gene variant (allele) which results in a trait referred to as Duffy-negative. It has long been known that carriers of this version of the gene are relatively protected from some strains of malaria. In addition, the allele has recently been linked to benign neutropenia – a mild reduction in the numbers of neutrophilic granulocytes (neutrophils), a type of white blood cells present in the circulation. Although neutrophils are known to play an important part in the innate immune defenses against pathogens, Duffy-negative individuals do not show any obvious increase in susceptibility to infections.

Read further:

https://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2017/weber_duffy1.html

https://www.uni-muenchen.de/forschung/news/2017/weber_duffy.html

How Ancestry Shapes Our Immune Cells

 
 
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Direktor: Prof. Dr. med. Christian Weber

Institut für Prophylaxe und Epidemiologie der Kreislaufkrankheiten (IPEK)

 

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