About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us

People With Certain High Risk Gene Combinations More Vulnerable to Severe Illness

by Gopalan on December 1, 2008 at 2:47 PM
 People With Certain High Risk Gene Combinations More Vulnerable to Severe Illness

People with certain high risk gene combinations are more vulnerable to a severe and prolonged illness when they have an infection, according to University of New South Wales (UNSW) researchers.

This group of people is significantly more likely to have an intense illness during the acute stage of an infection - when fever, aches and pain strike - to signal the start of the body's immune response.


Conversely, the researchers found some people had a gene combination which made them particularly hardy, with a less severe illness.

The findings have just been published in the prestigious journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The research focused on five cytokine genetic variants. Cytokines are protein hormone messengers of the immune system which defend against infection.

This is the first time that the genetic determinants of severity of acute sickness have been explored.

Ultimately, it might be possible to identify people who are vulnerable and give them individualised prevention and treatment for common infectious diseases. In certain conditions, it may even be possible to save lives.

In the case of a major pandemic such as SARS or bird flu, this vulnerable population might be given preference with any vaccine that becomes available.

"It is widely acknowledged that individuals differ a great deal in their acute sickness response to an infection," said UNSW's Dr Ute Vollmer-Conna, the lead author of the paper. "We are starting to understand why and how genetic combinations play an important role.

"Some people will experience more severe symptoms than others when they are acutely sick with the same infection because their body's response is more intense which in turn is due to their genetic make-up," said Dr Vollmer-Conna, an expert in how the brain and immune system interact, from UNSW's School of Psychiatry.

"This group in the population were found to spend twice as many days in bed during the acute illness and they also reported more than twice as many days when they were unable to perform their normal roles and duties."

The research focused on a group of 300 people of a similar age and ethnic background who were enrolled in the research after being diagnosed with acute glandular fever, Ross River virus or Q fever infections in Dubbo. The Dubbo Infection Outcomes Study is named after the NSW town in which the work was conducted.

Of those 300, almost 28 per cent (83 people) had the genetic predisposition to having a more severe and prolonged illness.

The co-authors on the paper are UNSW's Barbara Piraino, Barbara Cameron, Denis Wakefield and Andrew Lloyd from the Centre for Infection and Inflammation Research; and Tracey Davenport and Ian Hickie from the Brain and Mind Institute at the University of Sydney.

Source: Medindia
Font : A-A+



Recommended Readings

Latest Research News

Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks: Link to Traumatic Brain Injury and Dementia?
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks are detected in approximately 1-3% of adults who have experienced a traumatic brain injury.
Astrocyte Activation Through Optogenetics: A New Hope in the Fight Against Alzheimer's
The optogenetic activation of hippocampal astrocytes can be viewed as a novel therapeutic avenue for addressing Alzheimer's disease.
Link Between Cholesterol and Inflammation in Alzheimer's Disease Identified
In Alzheimer's disease condition, the control and adjustment of ABCA7 levels in response to inflammation and the decrease in the availability of cholesterol.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Atopic Dermatitis Share Common Links
Atopic dermatitis (AD) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can lead to alterations in the microbiome, and disruptions in the skin and gut barrier.
Vitiligo-Associated Autoimmunity Linked to Lower Health Risks
Gaining insights into mortality risks among vitiligo patients will enhance patient counseling, healthcare monitoring, and overall patient management strategies.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
Greetings! How can I assist you?MediBot

People With Certain High Risk Gene Combinations More Vulnerable to Severe Illness Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests