Leishmaniasis : the parasite is more virulent in the evening

Health 11 September, 2017


Published the 11.09.2017 at 17h38


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Our bodies would be more vulnerable to infections at certain times of the day, suggests a study published in Scientific Reports. A vulnerability that had nothing to do with a change of ambient temperature. No, it’s more amazing than that.

Researchers from the McGill university and the institut universitaire en santé mentale Douglas (Canada) have shown that the parasite responsible for leishmaniasis is more likely to infect the living beings in the early evening. For this microbe, it is the ideal period because it corresponds to the time when the immune response is the strongest. In other words, the period during which the white blood cells are the most active and most numerous.

At first glance, this mechanism seems paradoxical. It is, in fact, surprising that a pathogen flows into the mouth of the wolf. But in reality, this process is very ingenious. Parasites of the genus Leishmania are in need of white blood cells to infect the body. Thus, the more these immune cells are numerous, the more the risks of contamination are great.

Develop means of prevention

And to be even more effective, the parasite is transmitted by an insect vector, the sand fly, which bites primarily at night. “We already knew that viral and bacterial infections were controlled by the biological clock of our body’s immune system, but this is the first time that we show for a parasitic infection, and in particular a disease transmitted by a vector. “

This discovery made in mice is expected to contribute to the development of treatments or preventive approaches against leishmaniasis. At the present time, there is no vaccine or prophylactic treatment to protect themselves from this disease that affects more than 2 million people in the world.