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Breakthrough in combating the side effects of quinine
Date:6/29/2009

ed in yams, a staple food crop in the tropics where malaria is prevalent. If quinine severely reduces tryptophan uptake, then it follows that people with preexisting tryptophan deficiency, a common occurrence in undernourished populations, would be especially at risk from this drug.

Each year there are an estimated 350 to 500 million cases of malaria and every year it kills between one and three million people. In Africa, malaria is a leading cause of death in children. Estimates are that worldwide over three billion people are at risk of contracting the disease.

Dr Simon Avery said: "This finding could be a key step towards making quinine side-effects a thing of the past, so improving the quality of treatment for millions of malaria sufferers. It also highlights the benefits of collaborative research, in this case between my yeast group and the parasite immunology group of Dr. Richard Pleass."

The body uses tryptophan to make the brain chemical serotonin which is thought to produce healthy sleep and a stable mood - so a lack of tryptophan induced by quinine could also explain why many of quinine's side effects are localized to the head region.

The researchers postulate that the toxic effects of quinine could be averted simply by taking dietary tryptophan supplements in conjunction with quinine treatments. Scientists now have to find out if tryptophan affects quinine action against the malaria parasite.


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Contact: Dr. Simon Avery
simon.avery@nottingham.ac.uk
44-011-595-13315
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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