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Nat Rev Immunol. 2007 Mar;7(3):220-30.

Suppression of TH2-type allergic reactions by helminth infection.

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Institute of Molecular Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin Centre for Health Sciences, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


There is no immunological mechanism to adequately explain the sudden epidemic in allergies noted in the last 30 years in developed countries. The reduction in the development of allergic disorders observed in individuals infected with parasitic helminths, however, supports a possible role for worms in suppressing allergies. Helminths regulate the immunity of the host to ensure a mutually beneficial environment for the survival of both the parasite and the host. This interplay between helminths and allergic responses raises fundamental questions in immunobiology. Harnessing current mechanistic studies for translational research into helminth infections and atopy might have potential for the identification of novel biomarkers, and even therapeutics, in allergic diseases.

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