Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2012 Oct;25(4):585-608. doi: 10.1128/CMR.05040-11.

Helminth infections and host immune regulation.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Immunology and Infection Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.


Helminth parasites infect almost one-third of the world's population, primarily in tropical regions. However, regions where helminth parasites are endemic record much lower prevalences of allergies and autoimmune diseases, suggesting that parasites may protect against immunopathological syndromes. Most helminth diseases are spectral in nature, with a large proportion of relatively asymptomatic cases and a subset of patients who develop severe pathologies. The maintenance of the asymptomatic state is now recognized as reflecting an immunoregulatory environment, which may be promoted by parasites, and involves multiple levels of host regulatory cells and cytokines; a breakdown of this regulation is observed in pathological disease. Currently, there is much interest in whether helminth-associated immune regulation may ameliorate allergy and autoimmunity, with investigations in both laboratory models and human trials. Understanding and exploiting the interactions between these parasites and the host regulatory network are therefore likely to highlight new strategies to control both infectious and immunological diseases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk