Encyclopedia of Parasitology

2016 Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn

Insulin

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-43978-4_1612

General Information

Insulin is a phylogenetically old peptide hormone, being present at least in molluscs, insects, and vertebrates. Its functions are related to regulation of  energy metabolism and growth.

Pathology

Hypoglycaemia is a major complication of severe  malaria, especially in cerebral malaria where it is associated with increased mortality. In uncomplicated falciparum malaria, glucose production is increased by about 25 %, due to an increase in gluconeogenesis and a simultaneous decrease in glycogenolysis, but hypoglycaemia is mainyl caused by hyperinsulinaemia. If insulin secretion is blocked, hypoglycaemia can be reversed. Glycophosphatidyl inositol membrane anchors of malaria proteins are released as malaria toxic antigens and act synergistically to insulin. They induce production and release of tumour necrosis factor from macrophages, they stimulate lipogenesis and inhibit lipolysis in adipocytes.

Implications

Monoclonal antibodies against the glycophosphatidyl inositol of parasite origin can neutralize the toxic effects of parasite extracts.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016