Coadaptation and malaria control

Carlos Eduardo Tosta
2007 Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz  
Malaria emerges from a disequilibrium of the system 'human-plasmodium-mosquito' (HPM). If the equilibrium is maintained, malaria does not ensue and the result is asymptomatic plasmodium infection. The relationships among the components of the system involve coadaptive linkages that lead to equilibrium. A vast body of evidence supports this assumption, including the strategies involved in the relationships between plasmodium and human and mosquito immune systems, and the emergence of resistance
more » ... f plasmodia to antimalarial drugs and of mosquitoes to insecticides. Coadaptive strategies for malaria control are based on the following principles: (1) the system HPM is composed of three highly complex and dynamic components, whose interplay involves coadaptive linkages that tend to maintain the equilibrium of the system; (2) human and mosquito immune systems play a central role in the coadaptive interplay with plasmodium, and hence, in the maintenance of the system's equilibrium; the under-or overfunction of human immune system may result in malaria and influence its severity; (3) coadaptation depends on genetic and epigenetic phenomena occurring at the interfaces of the components of the system, and may involve exchange of infectrons (genes or gene fragments) between the partners; (4) plasmodia and mosquitoes have been submitted to selective pressures, leading to adaptation, for an extremely long while and are, therefore, endowed with the capacity to circumvent both natural (immunity) and artificial (drugs, insecticides, vaccines) measures aiming at destroying them; (5) since malaria represents disequilibrium of the system HPM, its control should aim at maintaining or restoring this equilibrium; (6) the disequilibrium of integrated systems involves the disequilibrium of their components, therefore the maintenance or restoration of the system's equilibrium depend on the adoption of integrated and coordinated measures acting on all components, that means, panadaptive strategies. Coadaptive strategies for malaria control should consider that: (1) host immune response has to be induced, since without it, no coadaptation is attained; (2) the immune response has to be sustained and efficient enough to avoid plasmodium overgrowth; (3) the immune response should not destroy all parasites; (4) the immune response has to be well controlled in order to not harm the host. These conditions are mostly influenced by antimalarial drugs, and should also be taken into account for the development of coadaptive malaria vaccines.
doi:10.1590/s0074-02762007005000042 pmid:17568946 fatcat:bipkicmhzzbmbnvmya6otp6iim