Department of Clinical Immunology at Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University

Department has closed down

Research connected to South Asia:

Lars ke HanssonThe department was engaged in South Asia related research since several decades. A number of research programmes have been carried out in collaboration with the Dept. for Social Preventive Pediatrics at King Edward Medical College, Lahore, Pakistan. The key person behind the projects on the Swedish side was Lars Åke Hanson, Professor Emeritus since 1999.
The purpose of the Pakistan projects have been to analyse genetic variations which can explain the high frequency of intrauterine growth retardation (low birth weight is the major risc factor for children in poor countries). Research on new mechanisms for providing possibilities for treatment/prevention of this major perinatal risk factor in poor countries. The effect of poverty, early life malnutrition, and infections on adult health and mortalityin a slum in Lahore has also been studies, as well as genetic factors in this group, and the effect of cytokine gene polymorphisms, environment and nutrition on growth in a poor country.

The department was involved in the major long-term research and research training project on Early Child Health in Lahore carried out during the years 1976 to 1995 in collaboration with several other Swedish and International departments, with support from Sida/SAREC. Prof. Lars-Åke Hansson was a key person in the project. More information about the Lahore project.

Prof Hansson led a research group on the ”Immune System and Child Health”. Other members of the same research group have been Dr Leonid Padyukov, Dr Mirjana Hahn-Zoric, PhD Candidate Ann-Marie Hytönen, Marina Korotkova, Petra Brenbeck, and Sylvie Amu. Their studies focus on:

• Cytokine gene polymorphisms in relation to transplant rejection, allergic and certain other inflammatory diseases
• Possible effects of early undernutrition and low birth weight on immune capacity and metabolism in adults born in a Lahore slum. The department has been involved in a long-term follow-up study of a 1964–1978 birth cohort population.
• Possible intestinal uptake of bacterial nucleotides in mammals
• Induction of anti-secretory factor in human milk and its possible effect on mastitis and transfer of HIV from mother to infant
• Cytokineabnormalities in placentas from intrauterine growth retarded (IUGR) neonates in Pakistan
• Deviations in vaccine responses of adults born with IUGR (Pakistan)
• Anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects of lactoferrin, and
• Possible chaperon function of lactoferrin

In November 2003 Lars-Åke Hansson was given SEK 700 000 as a three-years grant (2001 and 2004–05) from Sida/SAREC for a project called ”Studying nutrient-gene interaction, influencing effects of malnutrition-infections on postnatal growth in children born in a slum in Lahore 1964-78”, which is a follow-up study of earlier research in Pakistan (see information above). See full list of South Asia related research projects that were given Sida/SAREC planning grants in November 2003.
The project, focusing on means to prevent diarrhoeal diseases, still remaining a predominant problem in children living in less privileged populations. It was carried out in collaboration with two other researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Prof. Stefan Lange and Dr. Ivar Lönnroth from the Department of Clinical Bacteriology; and two researchers in Pakistan, Prof. Shakila Zaman from the Health Services Academy in Islamabad; and Dr. Javaria Mannan, Dept. of Social and Preventive Paediatrics, Fatima Jinnah Medical College in Lahore.
In 2007, the results were published as an article in the peer-reviewed magazine Acta Pædiatrica. The article was entitled ”B 221, a medical food containing antisecretory factor reduces child diarrhoea: a placebo controlled trial”. It shows that feeding with egg yolk powder (B221), containing antisecretory factor (AF) rich egg yolk gives positive results. Read the full article.