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The Fulani are less clinically susceptible and more immunologically responsive to malaria than neighbouring ethnic groups. Here we report that anti-malarial antibody levels show a wide distribution amongst the Fulani themselves, raising the possibility that quantitative analysis within the Fulani may be an efficient way of screening for important genetic factors. The Th2 cytokine interleukin-4 is an obvious candidate: in Fulani, the IL4-524 T allele is at high frequency and is associated with elevated antibody levels against malaria antigens. These data highlight the possibility of combining inter- and intra-ethnic comparisons to characterize critical determinants of malarial immunity in a natural setting.

Original publication




Journal article


Genes and immunity

Publication Date





411 - 414


Fondazione Pasteur Cenci-Bolognetti, Università di Roma La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Animals, Humans, Plasmodium falciparum, Malaria, Disease Susceptibility, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Immunoglobulin G, Interleukin-4, Antibodies, Antigens, Protozoan, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Gene Frequency, Genotype, Polymorphism, Genetic, Ethnic Groups, Africa, Western, Female, Male, Promoter Regions, Genetic