Send to

Choose Destination
World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Sep 7;14(33):5125-32.

Helminth infections and intestinal inflammation.

Author information

Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Building 114 16th Street, Room 3504, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, United States.


Evidence from epidemiological studies indicates an inverse correlation between the incidence of certain immune-mediated diseases, including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), and exposure to helminths. Helminth parasites are the classic inducers of Th2 responses. The Th2-polarized T cell response driven by helminth infection has been linked to the attenuation of some damaging Th1 driven inflammatory responses, preventing some Th1-mediated autoimmune diseases in the host, including experimentally induced colitis. Helminth parasites (the porcine whipworm, Trichuris suis) have been tested for treating IBD patients, resulting in clinical amelioration of the disease. As a result, there is a great deal of interest in the research community in exploring the therapeutic use of helminth parasites for the control of immune-mediated diseases, including IBD. However, recent studies have provided evidence indicating the exacerbating effects of helminths on bacterial as well as non-infectious colitis in animal models. Therefore, a better understanding of mechanisms by which helminths modulate host immune responses in the gut may reveal novel, more effective and safer approaches to helminth-based therapy of IBD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center