Can helminths or helminth-derived products be used in humans to prevent or treat allergic diseases?

Trends Immunol. 2009 Feb;30(2):75-82. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2008.11.005. Epub 2009 Jan 8.

Abstract

Recent epidemiological and experimental data indicate that infection with helminths can protect humans from the development of allergic disorders by immunosuppressive mechanisms that involve the induction of IL-10 and/or regulatory T cells. Furthermore, helminth-derived immune modulators suppress allergic responses in mice. Trichuris suis therapy has been shown to be safe and efficacious in treating inflammatory bowel disease in humans. Has the time come to treat patients who have allergic diseases or healthy humans who are at risk of developing these diseases with helminths or helminth-derived products? Here, I discuss the pros and cons of such an approach.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Helminth / adverse effects
  • Antigens, Helminth / immunology
  • Antigens, Helminth / therapeutic use
  • Cell Extracts / immunology
  • Cell Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Cross Reactions
  • Helminth Proteins / adverse effects
  • Helminth Proteins / immunology
  • Helminth Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Helminths / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Hypersensitivity / parasitology
  • Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Mice
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / parasitology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / parasitology

Substances

  • Antigens, Helminth
  • Cell Extracts
  • ES-62 protein, Acanthocheilonema viteae
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Immunologic Factors
  • PAS-1 protein, Ascaris suum
  • Interleukin-10