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Trends Parasitol. 2011 Jul;27(7):300-5. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Apr 30.

How can immunopathology shape the evolution of parasite virulence?

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Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK.


Immunopathology (immune-mediated pathology) is a ubiquitous cause of disease during infection, but how will parasite exploitation strategies evolve in its presence? Immunopathology can act to increase parasite fitness if it increases transmission rate, but can equally act to decrease parasite fitness if it increases host mortality. The focus here is on understanding how immunopathology, mediated through different immune mechanisms, can influence parasite fitness and how experimental manipulations of the immune system can be carried out to examine this. A better understanding of how parasite fitness scales with, or responds to, immunopathology is crucial to understanding the nature of selection acting on parasite virulence traits and will allow more informed predictions to be made regarding the trajectory of parasite virulence evolution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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