Persistent Infection Leads To Long-Term Immunity Protection

Posted: Jan 19 2017, 3:21pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Persistent Infection Leads to Long-Term Immunity Protection
Now, researchers studying the tropical parasite Leishmania have found a clue to explain the link between long-term immunity and long-term infection: The parasite (shown in green) is constantly multiplying and being killed by immune cells (pink and blue), keeping the immune system alert and prepared for any new encounters with the parasite. CREDIT: M. Mandell and S. Beverley
  • Long term immunity protection occurs due to persistent infection

For many infectious diseases, a single bout of the illness protects a person against contracting it again. In some cases, the infecting microbe persists in the body long after symptoms resolve, and can cause disease later in life.

There are several infections that persist even after the disease is cured, like chicken pox, the small microbes stay in the body even after recovery. These microbes can appear again at certain age or due to some illness when the immune system gets week.

New research is going on leishmaniasis by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. It’s a disease that kills several people every year that shows a link between long term immunity and infection. Researchers found that the infection can attack immune system any time later.

The effect of long term infection on immunity can help scientists develop new vaccine. The research study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on January 16th.

Previous studies observed the role of immune system that protects infection, but did not observe the link of infection with age, said Stephen Beverley, PhD, the Marvin A. Brennecke Professor of Molecular Microbiology and the study's senior author.

When the infection persists, small microbes stay in the body even after disease is gone. Like parasites, several microbes cause infections, like bacteria that cause tuberculosis and viruses that cause chickenpox and herpes.

Many pathogens cause infections, but it wasn’t evident, said Michael Mandell, PhD, the first author on the study. Mandell, who did this study as a graduate student, is now an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico. He also said that in the past reasons of long term infection and its link with immunity was unknown.

Mandell and Beverley studied Leishmania through ulcer causing parasites. These parasites cause skin ulcer infecting other body areas. According to a research, around 250 million people get affected by parasites that are silent,whereas 12 million are affected with active a parasites. The disease can be dangerous, but there is less chance for a person to get the disease after protection, that means infection has link to long term immunity.

Research study involved mice on which different mouse cells were studied and observed that most parasites were located in immune cells that kill parasites. The team also observed that these parasites increased however amount remained same for long.

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