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Parasitology. 1997;115 Suppl:S33-44.

The relationship between immunological responsiveness controlled by T-helper 2 lymphocytes and infections with parasitic helminths.

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Centre for the Mechanisms of Human Toxicity, Leicester, UK.


It should have been difficult until relatively recently for immunologists to ascribe a sound biological reason for the continued possession of the allergic phenotype in human populations. Nevertheless, for the past 20 years or so textbooks of immunology have routinely exhibited fanciful and perhaps exaggerated diagrams as to how IgE and eosinophils killed all helminth parasites. These diagrams were largely based on perhaps selective in vitro observations, and it is only now that immunoparasitologists, working on human populations under arduous conditions in the field, are able to provide data to corroborate these findings, and perhaps ascribe a useful purpose for a generally pathological immune response termed Type I hypersensitivity. The present paper reviews much of this recent literature, and asks a number of pertinent questions relating to the relationship between what we now know to be T-helper 2 lymphocyte-driven immunological responsiveness and infections with parasitic helminths.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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