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Involving Yersinia pestis and B-blood type

  1. Jun 3, 2004 #1
    Hey guys, in my microbiology class last semester my prof mentioned that the plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, which was in Europe, etc. He said that the reason that Y. pestis killed so many people was that it had the same surface antigens as type B blood, therefore people with (type B and type AB?) would recognize the organism as self. And then the organize kills the person (how?). Is this true? I'm trying to find references to it on the web. I find plenty of talk about Y. pestis causing the disease, but nothing regardingn the blood type.

    Thank you kindly!
    Aychamo
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2004 #2

    Monique

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    It's an hypothesis, but people with bloodtype B are more likely to die from a Y. pestis infection, since they are unable to effectively make antibodies against the micro-organism if it mainly carries type B-like surface antigens (since you are not able to make antibodies against yourself, with auto-immune disease as the exception).
     
  4. Jun 3, 2004 #3
    How would this affect people with AB blood type? Also, is there any websites that discuss the hypothesis?
     
  5. Jun 3, 2004 #4

    Njorl

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    Interesting. I saw something, NOVA I think, that discussed the plague with respect to resistance to the AIDS virus. I missed the first half-hour, so I never knew what hypothesis they were trying to prove. Evidently those whose ancestors survived infection with the plague are less likely to support reproduction of the AIDS virus. I wish I knew the proposed mechanism.

    Njorl
     
  6. Jun 4, 2004 #5

    Monique

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    I don't think the plague inferred immunity against HIV has been proven yet. There was a suspicion that a mutated chemokine receptor gene (CCR5) was selected for by the plague, but a study published in Nature showed that mice with the receptor deficiency are not protected against Y. pestis.

    Though, the bacteria that cause plague attack macrophages, just like the HIV virus. If both organisms interact with the same surface molecules that allow them to recognize and attach to the macrophage, some benefitial selection might still have occured.

    Aychamo, http://www.drmirkin.com/morehealth/9601.html you can also search www.PubMed.com for scientific publications, you'd have to find out whether the sugar coating of the bacterial resemble those of the B blood type.
     
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