Helminths and our immune system: friend or foe?

Parasitol Int. 2009 Jun;58(2):121-7. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2009.02.001. Epub 2009 Feb 15.


Helminths are able to modulate and suppress the hosts' immune response in order to promote their own survival. This ability to alter immune responses could be of potential detriment to the host if it interferes with the development of protective immune responses against other infections. However, helminth infections have also been suggested to be beneficial in the control of excessive inflammatory reactions. In this review I will highlight some of the data suggesting both positive and negative effects of helminth infections in humans and in experimental models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Helminthiasis / complications
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Helminthiasis / parasitology
  • Helminths / immunology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Immune System / parasitology*
  • Malaria / immunology
  • Mice
  • Vaccination