Volume 74, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The high frequencies of both α+ thalassemia and the sickle cell trait (hemoglobin AS [HbAS]) found in many tropical populations are thought to reflect selection pressure from malaria. For HbAS, but not for α+ thalassemia, protection appears to be mediated by the enhanced phagocytic clearance of ring-infected erythrocytes. We have investigated the genotype-specific distributions of peripheral blood leukocyte populations in two groups of children living on the coast of Kenya: a group of healthy parasite-negative children sampled at cross-sectional survey during a period of low malaria transmission, and a group of children attending the hospital with acute malaria. We report distinctive distributions of peripheral blood myeloid dendritic cells and monocytes in children with α+ thalassemia and HbAS during healthy periods and disease, and suggest ways in which these might relate to the mechanisms of protection afforded by these conditions.


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  • Received : 25 Aug 2005
  • Accepted : 06 Dec 2005

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