Send to

Choose Destination
Parasite Immunol. 2000 Dec;22(12):605-12.

Immunopathology of intestinal helminth infection.

Author information

Department of Immunology and Bacteriology, University of Glasgow, Western Infirmary, Glasgow, UK.


The relationship between intestinal pathology and immune expulsion of gastrointestinal nematodes remains controversial. Parasite expulsion is associated with intestinal pathology in several model systems and both of these phenomena are T cell dependent. However, while immune expulsion of gastrointestinal helminth parasites is usually associated with Th2 responses, the effector mechanisms directly responsible for parasite loss have not been elucidated. In contrast, the intestinal pathology observed in many other disease models closely resembles that seen in helminth infections, but has been attributed to Th1 cytokines. We have used infection with the nematode Trichinella spiralis in mice defective for cytokines to demonstrate that although parasite expulsion is indeed IL-4 dependent, contrary to expectations, the enteropathy is also regulated by IL-4. Furthermore, abrogation of severe pathology in iNOS deficient and TNF receptor defective animals does not prevent parasite expulsion. TNF and iNOS are therefore involved in intestinal pathology in nematode infections, apparently under regulation by IL-4 and Th2 mediated responses. Therefore, it appears that the IL-4-dependent protective response against the parasite operates by a mechanism other than merely the gross degradation of the parasite's environment brought about by the immune enteropathy. However, it remains important to elucidate the protective mechanisms involved in parasite expulsion, which are still unclear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center