Human Candidate Polymorphisms in Sympatric Ethnic Groups Differing in Malaria Susceptibility in Mali
We analyzed the humoral immune response to the amino- (amino acids 22-125) and carboxy-terminal (amino acids 289-390) non-repetitive domains of the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (PfCSP) in individuals belonging to three west African ethnic groups (the Fulani, Mossi, and Rimaibé) living in the same conditions of hyperendemic transmission in a Sudan savanna area of Burkina Faso. Previous surveys conducted in the same area showed obvious interethnic differences in the susceptibility and immune reactivity to malaria, with the Fulani showing lower infection and disease rates and higher humoral responses to various P. falciparum antigens than sympatric ethnic groups. A total of 764 subjects (311 Mossi, 273 Rimaibé, and 180 Fulani) of all age classes were tested. The total mean +/- SE anti-(CSPf-N-term) and anti-(CSPf-C-term) seroprevalences were 65.6 +/- 1.7% and 57.0 +/- 1.8%, respectively. These seroprevalences were lower than that recorded in the same sample for the central (NANP)40 repetitive domain (88.3 +/- 1.2%). As previously reported for other P. falciparum antigens (PfCSP-(NANP)40, thrombospondin-related anonymous protein, merozoite surface protein-1, Pf155-ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen, and Pf332), in spite of similar exposure to malaria, the Fulani showed higher immune reactivity than sympatric populations for both antigens tested. Our results confirm the presence of B cell epitopes in the non-repetitive regions of the PfCSP; moreover a further evidence of interethnic differences in the capacity to mount humoral responses against P. falciparum malaria was obtained. The assessment of the biological basis of interethnic heterogeneities in the susceptibility and in the humoral immune responses to malaria appears relevant in the development of anti-malaria vaccines.