Breaking News
March 24, 2018 - Pubertal hormones not responsible for changes in social behavior during adolescence
March 24, 2018 - Waning Vaccine Protection May Be Driving Rise in U.S. Mumps Cases
March 24, 2018 - Folic Acid in Utero Tied to Food Allergy Risk
March 24, 2018 - Trial shows safety of drugs for irregular heartbeat patients undergoing treatment
March 24, 2018 - Penn State psychologists shed light on false memories in older adults
March 24, 2018 - Patients who self-discharge should be viewed more positively, say researchers
March 24, 2018 - Wearable brain scanner enables brain imaging whilst moving
March 24, 2018 - Trump Signs $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill, Averts Shutdown
March 24, 2018 - Two drugs prevent heart problems in breast cancer patients
March 24, 2018 - Research provides better understanding of how some cancer cells resist treatment
March 24, 2018 - Certain nutrients found in food may help reduce symptoms of psychotic illness
March 24, 2018 - AbbVie Announces Positive Topline Results from Second Phase 3 Study Evaluating Investigational Elagolix in Women with Uterine Fibroids
March 24, 2018 - AHRQ Is in Trouble | Medpage Today
March 24, 2018 - Could a pap test spot more than just cervical cancer?
March 24, 2018 - Men have greater hospital readmission risk following firearm injury, study shows
March 24, 2018 - Pediatric psychologist shares 11 warning signs of childhood depression
March 24, 2018 - OncoBreak: ‘I Was Normal Once’; Ending Cervical Cancer; Mammo Controversy
March 24, 2018 - Gum Disease by the Numbers
March 24, 2018 - Studies show tool can identify individual needs, supports to help youths with autism, intellectual disabilities
March 24, 2018 - Study reveals cause of extreme nausea in pregnancy
March 24, 2018 - New findings highlight need to reconsider cervical cancer screening guidelines
March 24, 2018 - Smartwatch App Might Help Detect A-Fib
March 24, 2018 - TAVR Reasonable for Low-Flow, Low-Gradient Aortic Stenosis
March 24, 2018 - Kids with severe brain injuries may develop ADHD: study
March 24, 2018 - Researchers explore ways to help older adults taper off and stop using sedatives
March 24, 2018 - Back pain being mismanaged globally
March 24, 2018 - Fingerprint test accurately and noninvasively detects heroin, cocaine users
March 24, 2018 - Leading experts to promote cardiovascular health at EuroPrevent 2018
March 24, 2018 - A Role for Rituximab in Lupus?
March 24, 2018 - New osteoarthritis genes discovered
March 24, 2018 - Maternal intake of DHA supplement linked to higher fat-free body mass in children
March 24, 2018 - Royal College of Pathologists‘ bulletin provides summary of Tissue Handling Workshop
March 24, 2018 - Maternal alcohol use early in pregnancy may be risk factor for infant abdominal malformation
March 24, 2018 - Savara Initiates Phase 2a Clinical Study of Molgradex for the Treatment of NTM Lung Infection
March 24, 2018 - Accelerated WBI Should be the Norm for Most Breast Cancers
March 24, 2018 - Experts seek to standardize treatments for childhood rheumatic diseases
March 24, 2018 - Foil-based measuring chip rapidly detects Legionella
March 24, 2018 - Bariatric surgery linked to positive outcomes in very obese adolescents with type 2 diabetes
March 24, 2018 - Researchers identify chemical responsible for carcinogen formation in recycled wastewater
March 24, 2018 - Obesity and severe obesity continue to rise among U.S. adults
March 24, 2018 - Missed hospital appointments increase after spring clock change in the UK
March 24, 2018 - Researchers explore ways to manage and prevent falls in older adults with dementia
March 24, 2018 - Are there risks from secondhand marijuana smoke? Early science says yes.
March 24, 2018 - NUST MISIS researchers produce elastic metal rods for scoliosis treatment
March 24, 2018 - New University of Bath project seeks to make injections safer
March 24, 2018 - Higher-dose RT does not improve survival but reduces recurrence risk for prostate cancer patients
March 24, 2018 - Researchers examine link between knee pain and depression in older adults
March 24, 2018 - FDA Alert: BD Vacutainer Blood Collection Tubes by Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Class I Recall
March 24, 2018 - Daytime Sleepiness Linked to Amyloid Accumulation Without Dementia
March 24, 2018 - Energy storehouses in the brain may be source of Alzheimer’s, targets of new therapy
March 24, 2018 - Praising people with autism shows promise for producing more exercise
March 24, 2018 - Using harmless red or infrared light to diagnose breast cancer
March 24, 2018 - Clash over abortion hobbles a health bill. Again. Here’s how.
March 23, 2018 - Virtual nature environment could be new way to recover from stress
March 23, 2018 - New study identifies key cellular mechanisms behind vascular aging in mice
March 23, 2018 - Nightmares Common Among U.S. Troops, But Seldom Reported
March 23, 2018 - Another Record Low for Tuberculosis in U.S.
March 23, 2018 - Changes in the eye connected to a decline in memory
March 23, 2018 - Radiologist creates dramatic teaching tool using power of VR
March 23, 2018 - Grilled meat could be raising the risk of hypertension finds study
March 23, 2018 - Mutations found in bassoon gene may help explain cause of rare brain disorder
March 23, 2018 - Childhood Brain Injuries May be Linked to ADHD Years Later
March 23, 2018 - Why treating addiction with medication should be carefully considered
March 23, 2018 - Researchers make key discovery about cellular pathway linked to myriad of diseases
March 23, 2018 - Researchers uncover cause of rare childhood neurodegenerative disease
March 23, 2018 - Measles infection in early childhood could contribute to later COPD
March 23, 2018 - Opioid painkiller is top prescription in 11 states
March 23, 2018 - Sienna Biopharmaceuticals Announces First Patient Dosed In Proof-of-Concept Trial of Topical By Design™ JAK Inhibitor SNA-125 for Atopic Dermatitis
March 23, 2018 - In Teen Girls, Neural Patterns May Drive Emotional Resilience
March 23, 2018 - Gene-based test for urine detects, monitors bladder cancer
March 23, 2018 - BD to introduce new digital solution for IV chemotherapy administration process at EAHP 2018
March 23, 2018 - New computational method helps to identify tumor cell mutations with greater accuracy
March 23, 2018 - Researchers identify potential obesity treatment in freezing hunger-signaling nerve
March 23, 2018 - Wales participates in the 100,000 Genomes Project
March 23, 2018 - 24-Hr Paging Cuts ED Visits for Kids with Endocrine Issues
March 23, 2018 - The brain learns completely differently than we’ve assumed since the 20th century
March 23, 2018 - Less nutritious diet mainly contributes to Type 2 diabetes among U.S.-based South Asians
March 23, 2018 - Stony Brook Medicine expert provides tips for healthy diet to decrease cancer risk
March 23, 2018 - New findings could have revolutionary impact on quality of life of older people
March 23, 2018 - Restoring enzyme may help reverse effects of vascular aging, study shows
Penn researchers find evidence of new malaria species in wild bonobos

Penn researchers find evidence of new malaria species in wild bonobos

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Malaria parasites, although widespread among wild chimpanzees and gorillas, have not been detected in bonobos, a chimp cousin. Reasoning that previous studies may have missed infected bonobo populations, a team led by Beatrice Hahn, MD, a professor of Microbiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a more extensive survey, increasing both the number and places they sampled wild bonobo populations. Although they saw evidence of a new malaria species in bonobos, it was limited to one small area of their range. The team published their findings in Nature Communications this week.

Hahn’s lab studies ape relatives of human pathogens such as HIV and malaria to gain a greater insight into the microbes that cause these diseases in humans. African non-human primates are highly endangered and require non-invasive sampling methods to gain insight into their health. Hahn’s team has perfected a sensitive assay that allows them to obtain genetic information of malaria parasites from ape fecal matter gathered from the forest floor.

“Not finding any evidence of malaria in wild bonobos just didn’t make sense, given that captive bonobos are susceptible to this infection,” Hahn said. “We look for biological loopholes to potentially exploit the life history of these pathogens to better understand how they cross over to humans.”

According to the World Malaria Report, there were 214 million cases of malaria globally in 2015 and 438,000 deaths from the disease – down 37 and 60 percent, respectively, since 2000. Still, more work needs to be done to combat the parasite, especially since the barriers that prevent cross-species transmission are not well understood.

Hahn’s team found that bonobos are, in fact, susceptible to a wide variety of Plasmodium malaria parasites, including a previously unknown Laverania species that is specific to bonobos. (Laverania parasites are close relatives of the human malaria parasite P. falciparum.) Wild bonobos are found in the forests of central Africa, south of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, natural infection was only detected in the eastern-most part of the bonobo range.

“It seems likely that these parasites co-evolved with African apes, suggesting that the ancestors of bonobos were infected, and implying that most wild-living communities of bonobos have somehow lost their malaria parasites,” said coauthor Paul Sharp, PhD, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Edinburgh.

The researchers tested 1,556 fecal samples from 11 field sites and identified a high prevalence of Laverania infections in an area called Tshuapa-Lomami-Lualaba (TL2), a remote region in the eastern DRC.

Until recently, there were six known ape Laverania species that exhibited strict host specificity (association with a single host species) in wild populations – three in chimpanzees and three in western gorillas. In 2010, Hahn and colleagues discovered that gorillas were the origin of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the most prevalent and lethal of the malaria parasites that infect people.

One surprising finding from the current study was that TL2 bonobos harbor P. gaboni, which was previously only found in chimpanzees, as well as a new Laverania species, termed P. lomamiensis, in recognition of the recently established Lomami National Park. The team tried to narrow down the reasons for the absence of Plasmodium from most bonobo field sites. However, neither parasite seasonality nor bonobo population structure could explain what they observed.

“For now, the geographic restriction of bonobo Plasmodium infection remains a mystery,” said co-first author Weimin Liu, PhD, a senior research investigator in Hahn’s lab.

“We have yet to identify the causes,” said co-first author Scott Sherrill-Mix, PhD, a Hahn lab postdoctoral fellow. “We looked at what plants bonobos eat and what types of bacteria make up their gut microbiome, but these could not explain the absence of Plasmodium from most of the bonobo sites. From this, we suspect that factors that influence parasite transmission are involved.”

As scientists consider how malaria can be eliminated from the human population, Hahn notes that it is important to understand more about these ape parasites, what factors affect their distribution and host-specificity, and whether there are circumstances under which any of them could again jump into humans. Hahn knows of what she speaks. In 2006, her lab and collaborators confirmed that the virus that is responsible for the AIDS pandemic in humans is of chimpanzee origin.


Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles