G6PD and HBB polymorphisms in the Senegalese population: prevalence, correlation with clinical malaria

PeerJ. 2022 Jul 5:10:e13487. doi: 10.7717/peerj.13487. eCollection 2022.


Background: Host genetic factors contribute to the variability of malaria phenotypes and can allow a better understanding of mechanisms involved in susceptibility and/or resistance to Plasmodium falciparum infection outcomes. Several genetic polymorphisms were reported to be prevalent among populations living in tropical malaria-endemic regions and induce protection against malaria. The present study aims to investigate the prevalence of HBB (chr11) and G6PD (chrX) deficiencies polymorphisms among Senegalese populations and their associations with the risk for severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria occurrence.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study with 437 samples, 323 patients recruited in hospitals located in three different endemic areas where malaria episodes were confirmed and 114 free malaria controls. The patients enrolled were classified into two groups: severe malaria (SM) (153 patients) and uncomplicated malaria (UM) (170 patients). PCR and DNA sequencing assessed host genetic polymorphisms in HBB and G6PD. Using a multivariate regression and additive model, estimates of the impact of human HBB and G6PD polymorphisms on malaria incidence were performed.

Results: Six frequent SNPs with minor allele frequencies (MAF) > 3% were detected in the HBB gene (rs7946748, rs7480526, rs10768683, rs35209591, HbS (rs334) and rs713040) and two in the G6PD gene (rs762515 and rs1050828 (G6PD-202 G > A). Analysis of selected HbS polymorphism showed significant association with protective effect against severe malaria with a significant p-value = 0.033 (OR 0.38, 95% CI [0.16-0.91]) for SM vs. UM comparison. Surprisingly, our study did not identify the protective effect of variant HbC polymorphism against severe malaria. Finally, we found some of the polymorphisms, like HbS (rs334), are associated with age and biological parameters like eosinophils, basophils, lymphocytes etc.

Conclusion: Our data report HBB and G6PD polymorphisms in the Senegalese population and their correlation with severe/mild malaria and outcome. The G6PD and HBB deficiencies are widespread in West Africa endemic malaria regions such as The Gambia, Mali, and Burkina Faso. The study shows the critical role of genetic factors in malaria outcomes. Indeed, genetic markers could be good tools for malaria endemicity prognosis.

Keywords: G6PD; HBB; Polymorphisms; Senegal; Severe malaria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Hemoglobin Subunits
  • Humans
  • Malaria* / complications
  • Malaria, Falciparum* / epidemiology
  • Mali
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies


  • G6PD protein, human
  • Hemoglobin Subunits

Grants and funding

This study was supported by grants from Dedonder Clayton 2014, Institut Pasteur Network. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.