Helminths may help combat allergic asthma

Allergic diseases are rising dramatically in most developed countries – evidenced by the over-reactivity of the Th2 cells which set off the allergic reaction.

Epidemiological studies are suggesting that Helminth parasites, by stimulating a response from the Th2, may counteract the rise in allergic reactions, possibly by generating regulatory T cells moderate the immune response.
In this research (Suppression of allergic airway inflammation by helminth-induced regulatory T cells
Mark S. Wilson, Matthew D. Taylor, Adam Balic, Constance A.M. Finney, Jonathan R. Lamb, and Rick M. Maizels published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine) researchers tested the ability of the Th2 cell–inducing gastrointestinal nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus to influence experimentally induced airway allergy to ovalbumin and the house dust mite allergen Der p 1. Their results support the contention that helminth infections elicit a regulatory T cell population able to down-regulate allergen induced lung pathology in vivo.


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First Published in November 2005

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