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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Malaria parasites able to sense their hosts' calorie intake

Malaria parasites able to sense their hosts' calorie intake.Scientists have found that the odds of dying with a malaria infection are lower when the host eats lower amounts of food. A new study has shown that the infectious agent responsible for malaria, the Plasmodium parasite, is able to to sense and actively adapt to the host's nutritional status.Using mouse models of malaria infection, scientists from Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon (iMM Lisboa), found that mice who ate 30% fewer calories had a significantly lower parasite load. Plasmodium parasites reproduce inside red blood cells every 48 hours. The study in Nature reveals for the first time that the parasite's rate of replication depends on the calories ingested by the host. This may ultimately dictate the outcome of a malaria infection: survival or death.more