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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1993 Dec;87(6):643-7.

Cytokine-mediated regulation of intestinal helminth infections: the Trichuris muris model.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, U.K.


The Trichuris muris-mouse model of intestinal helminth infection provides a convenient system to examine the immune mechanisms operating during acute and chronic infection. Particular subsets of helper T lymphocytes (CD4+Th cells) play an important role in regulating infection via the secretion of distinct groups of cytokines. Reciprocal activation of Th cell subsets is associated with either expulsion of the parasites from the intestine (Th2 cells) or chronic infection (Th1 cells). In vivo neutralization experiments using anti-cytokine monoclonal antibodies show that critical cytokines are involved, with interferon-gamma playing an important role in the establishment of chronic trichuriasis and interleukin-4 in expulsion of the parasite from the gut. This model has provided clear evidence of a crucial role for distinct cytokines in mediating host protection against intestinal helminth infection and that manipulation of the immune response through the Th cell-cytokine axis can benefit either the host or the parasite. As such, the T. muris model is poised to generate important new data relevant not only to intestinal helminthiasis but to the wider field of parasite immunity and infection in general.

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