On the hunt for helminths: innate immune cells in the recognition and response to helminth parasites

Cell Microbiol. 2008 Sep;10(9):1757-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2008.01174.x. Epub 2008 May 26.


The generation of protective immunity to helminth parasites is critically dependent upon the development of a CD4(+) T helper type 2 cytokine response. However, the host-parasite interactions responsible for initiating this response are poorly understood. This review will discuss recent advances in our understanding of how helminth-derived products are recognized by innate immune cells. Specifically, interactions between helminth excretory/secretory products and host Toll-like receptors and lectins will be discussed as well as the putative functions of helminth proteases and chitin in activating and recruiting innate immune cells. In addition, the functional significance of pattern recognition by epithelial cells, granulocytes, dendritic cells and macrophages including expression of alarmins, thymic stromal lymphopoetin, interleukin (IL)-25, IL-33 and Notch ligands in the development of adaptive anti-parasite Th2 cytokine responses will be examined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chitin / immunology
  • Chitin / metabolism
  • Helminth Proteins / immunology*
  • Helminth Proteins / metabolism
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Helminths / immunology*
  • Helminths / metabolism
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Lectins / immunology
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Peptide Hydrolases / immunology
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Toll-Like Receptors / immunology


  • Helminth Proteins
  • Lectins
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Chitin
  • Peptide Hydrolases