Background: The link between host MHC (major histocompatibility complex) genotype and malaria is largely based on correlative data with little or no experimental control of potential confounding factors. We used an experimental mouse model to test for main effects of MHC-haplotypes, MHC heterozygosity, and MHC x parasite clone interactions. We experimentally infected MHC-congenic mice (F2 segregants, homo- and heterozygotes, males and females) with one of two clones of Plasmodium chabaudi and recorded disease progression.
Results: We found that MHC haplotype and parasite clone each have a significant influence on the course of the disease, but there was no significant host genotype by parasite genotype interaction. We found no evidence for overdominance nor any other sort of heterozygote advantage or disadvantage. \
Conclusion: When tested under experimental conditions, variation in the MHC can significantly influence the course of malaria. However, MHC heterozygote advantage through overdominance or dominance of resistance cannot be assumed in the case of single-strain infections. Future studies might focus on the interaction between MHC heterozygosity and multiple-clone infections.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 21 Nov 2006|