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Trends Parasitol. 2007 Jun;23(6):284-91. Epub 2007 Apr 26.

Transmission consequences of coinfection: cytokines writ large?

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Institutes of Evolution, Immunology & Infection Research, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.


Coinfection of a host by multiple parasite species is commonly observed and recent epidemiological work indicates that coinfection can enhance parasite transmission. This article proposes an immunoepidemiological framework to understand how within-host interactions during coinfection might affect between-host transmission. Cytokines, immune signalling molecules with a fundamental role in the amplification of antiparasitic effector mechanisms, provide a useful way to simplify immunological complexity for this endeavour--focusing on cytokines offers analytical tractability without sacrificing realism. Testable predictions about the epidemiological consequences of coinfection are generated by this conceptual framework.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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