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Killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) are a group of natural killer cell receptors (NKRs) that regulate NK-cell-mediated production of interferon gamma (IFN-γ) in response to infection. These receptors have recently been suggested to influence the severity of clinical Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection. We examined the KIR locus in relation to malaria in children from southwest Nigeria. Sequence specific priming (SSP)-PCR was used to detect the KIR genes. The presence or absence of fifteen different KIR genes was determined in each individual and the proportions compared across 3 clinical groups; asymptomatic malaria, uncomplicated clinical malaria and severe clinical malaria. The genes KIR2DL5, KIR2DS3 and KIR2DS5 were present in a significantly higher proportion of individuals in the asymptomatic control group than in the malaria cases. Furthermore, KIR2DS3 and KIR2DS5 were present in a higher proportion of uncomplicated malaria cases than severe malaria cases. Carriage c-AB2 genotype (which comprises all centromeric KIR genes including KIR2DL5, KIR2DS3 and KIR2DS5) decreases with severity of the disease suggesting that the KIR AB profile might be associated with protection from severe malaria infection in this population in Nigeria. © 2014 American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics.

Original publication




Journal article


Human Immunology

Publication Date





816 - 821