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1.  Co-infection of human parvovirus B19 with Plasmodium falciparum contributes to malaria disease severity in Gabonese patients 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:375.
High seroprevalence of parvovirus B19 (B19V) coinfection with Plasmodium falciparum has been previously reported. However, the impact of B19V-infection on the clinical course of malaria is still elusive. In this study, we investigated the prevalence and clinical significance of B19V co-infection in Gabonese children with malaria.
B19V prevalence was analyzed in serum samples of 197 Gabonese children with P. falciparum malaria and 85 healthy controls using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and direct DNA-sequencing.
B19V was detected in 29/282 (10.28%) of Gabonese children. B19V was observed more frequently in P. falciparum malaria patients (14.21%) in comparison to healthy individuals (1.17%) (P<0.001). Notably, the mild-malaria group revealed significantly lower hematocrit levels in B19V/P. falciparum co-infection than in P. falciparum mono-infection (P<0.05). Genetic analysis revealed a predominance of B19V genotype-1 (71.43%) in the studied population. However, B19V-genotype 2 was observed significantly more often in children with severe-malaria than in mild-malaria (P=0.04).
Our findings reveal that B19V-infection is frequent in Gabonese children with P. falciparum malaria and signifies a possible contribution of B19V on the clinical course of malaria in a genotype-dependent manner. B19V co-infection should be considered as a additional diagnostic measure in malaria patients with life threatening anemia.
PMCID: PMC3765098  PMID: 23945350
Erythrovirus; Human parvovirus B19; P. falciparum; Malaria; Co-infection; Gabonese children
2.  Reliable and rapid characterization of functional FCN2 gene variants reveals diverse geographical patterns 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:37.
Ficolin-2 coded by FCN2 gene is a soluble serum protein and an innate immune recognition element of the complement system. FCN2 gene polymorphisms reveal distinct geographical patterns and are documented to alter serum ficolin levels and modulate disease susceptibility.
We employed a real-time PCR based on Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) method to genotype four functional SNPs including -986 G > A (#rs3124952), -602 G > A (#rs3124953), -4A > G (#rs17514136) and +6424 G > T (#rs7851696) in the ficolin-2 (FCN2) gene. We characterized the FCN2 variants in individuals representing Brazilian (n = 176), Nigerian (n = 180), Vietnamese (n = 172) and European Caucasian ethnicity (n = 165).
We observed that the genotype distribution of three functional SNP variants (−986 G > A, -602 G > A and -4A > G) differ significantly between the populations investigated (p < 0.0001). The SNP variants were highly linked to each other and revealed significant population patterns. Also the distribution of haplotypes revealed distinct geographical patterns (p < 0.0001).
The observed distribution of the FCN2 functional SNP variants may likely contribute to altered serum ficolin levels and this may depend on the different disease settings in world populations. To conclude, the use of FRET based real-time PCR especially for FCN2 gene will benefit a larger scientific community who extensively depend on rapid, reliable method for FCN2 genotyping.
PMCID: PMC3458960  PMID: 22594803
FRET; Ficolin-2; Genotypes; Haplotypes; Distribution
3.  Ficolin-2 Levels and FCN2 Haplotypes Influence Hepatitis B Infection Outcome in Vietnamese Patients 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e28113.
Human Ficolin-2 (L-ficolins) encoded by FCN2 gene is a soluble serum protein that plays an important role in innate immunity and is mainly expressed in the liver. Ficolin-2 serum levels and FCN2 single nucleotide polymorphisms were associated to several infectious diseases. We initially screened the complete FCN2 gene in 48 healthy individuals of Vietnamese ethnicity. We genotyped a Vietnamese cohort comprising of 423 clinically classified hepatitis B virus patients and 303 controls for functional single nucleotide polymorphisms in the promoter region (-986G>A, -602G>A, -4A>G) and in exon 8 (+6424G>T) by real-time PCR and investigated the contribution of FCN2 genotypes and haplotypes to serum Ficolin-2 levels, viral load and liver enzyme levels. Haplotypes differed significantly between patients and controls (P = 0.002) and the haplotype AGGG was found frequently in controls in comparison to patients with hepatitis B virus and hepatocellular carcinoma (P = 0.0002 and P<0.0001) conferring a protective effect. Ficolin-2 levels differed significantly between patients and controls (p<0.0001). Patients with acute hepatitis B had higher serum Ficolin-2 levels compared to other patient groups and controls.The viral load was observed to be significantly distributed among the haplotypes (P = 0.04) and the AAAG haplotype contributed to higher Ficolin-2 levels and to viral load. Four novel single nucleotide polymorphisms in introns (-941G>T, -310G>A, +2363G>A, +4882G>A) and one synonymous mutation in exon 8 (+6485G>T) was observed. Strong linkage was found between the variant -986G>A and -4A>G. The very first study on Vietnamese cohort associates both Ficolin-2 serum levels and FCN2 haplotypes to hepatitis B virus infection and subsequent disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3222672  PMID: 22140517
4.  IL-4 Haplotype -590T, -34T and Intron-3 VNTR R2 Is Associated with Reduced Malaria Risk among Ancestral Indian Tribal Populations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48136.
Interleukin 4 (IL-4) is an anti-inflammatory cytokine, which regulates balance between TH1 and TH2 immune response, immunoglobulin class switching and humoral immunity. Polymorphisms in this gene have been reported to affect the risk of infectious and autoimmune diseases.
We have analyzed three regulatory IL-4 polymorphisms; -590C>T, -34C>T and 70 bp intron-3 VNTR, in 4216 individuals; including: (1) 430 ethnically matched case-control groups (173 severe malaria, 101 mild malaria and 156 asymptomatic); (2) 3452 individuals from 76 linguistically and geographically distinct endogamous populations of India, and (3) 334 individuals with different ancestry from outside India (84 Brazilian, 104 Syrian, and 146 Vietnamese).
The -590T, -34T and intron-3 VNTR R2 alleles were found to be associated with reduced malaria risk (P<0.001 for -590C>T and -34C>T, and P = 0.003 for VNTR). These three alleles were in strong LD (r2>0.75) and the TTR2 (-590T, -34T and intron-3 VNTR R2) haplotype appeared to be a susceptibility factor for malaria (P = 0.009, OR = 0.552, 95% CI = 0.356 –0.854). Allele and genotype frequencies differ significantly between caste, nomadic, tribe and ancestral tribal populations (ATP). The distribution of protective haplotype TTR2 was found to be significant (χ23 = 182.95, p-value <0.001), which is highest in ATP (40.5%); intermediate in tribes (33%); and lowest in caste (17.8%) and nomadic (21.6%).
Our study suggests that the IL-4 polymorphisms regulate host susceptibility to malaria and disease progression. TTR2 haplotype, which gives protection against malaria, is high among ATPs. Since they inhabited in isolation and mainly practice hunter-gatherer lifestyles and exposed to various parasites, IL-4 TTR2 haplotype might be under positive selection.
PMCID: PMC3480467  PMID: 23110190

Results 1-4 (4)