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Host circadian rhythms are disrupted during malaria infection in parasite genotype-specific manners

Prior, Kimberley F., O’Donnell, Aidan J., Rund, Samuel S. C., Savill, Nicholas J., Van Der Veen, Daan R. and Reece, Sarah E. (2019) Host circadian rhythms are disrupted during malaria infection in parasite genotype-specific manners Scientific Reports, 9, 10905. pp. 1-12.

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Infection can dramatically alter behavioural and physiological traits as hosts become sick and subsequently return to health. Such “sickness behaviours” include disrupted circadian rhythms in both locomotor activity and body temperature. Host sickness behaviours vary in pathogen species-specific manners but the influence of pathogen intraspecific variation is rarely studied. We examine how infection with the murine malaria parasite, Plasmodium chabaudi, shapes sickness in terms of parasite genotype-specific effects on host circadian rhythms. We reveal that circadian rhythms in host locomotor activity patterns and body temperature become differentially disrupted and in parasite genotype-specific manners. Locomotor activity and body temperature in combination provide more sensitive measures of health than commonly used virulence metrics for malaria (e.g. anaemia). Moreover, patterns of host disruption cannot be explained simply by variation in replication rate across parasite genotypes or the severity of anaemia each parasite genotype causes. It is well known that disruption to circadian rhythms is associated with non-infectious diseases, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Our results reveal that disruption of host circadian rhythms is a genetically variable virulence trait of pathogens with implications for host health and disease tolerance.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine
Authors :
Prior, Kimberley F.
O’Donnell, Aidan J.
Rund, Samuel S. C.
Savill, Nicholas J.
Van Der Veen, Daan
Reece, Sarah E.
Date : 29 July 2019
Funders : Human Frontiers Science Program, Wellcome, Royal Society, Wellcome Trust
DOI : 10.1038/s41598-019-47191-8
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2019. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Uncontrolled Keywords : Evolutionary ecology; Pathogens
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 15 Aug 2019 09:36
Last Modified : 15 Aug 2019 09:36

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