Regulation of type 1 diabetes, tuberculosis, and asthma by parasites

J Mol Med (Berl). 2010 Jan;88(1):27-38. doi: 10.1007/s00109-009-0546-0. Epub 2009 Oct 21.


Helminth infection is a worldwide health problem. In addition to directly causing disease, helminthic infection also affects the incidence and progression of other diseases by exerting immune modulatory effects. In animal models, infection with helminthic parasites can prevent autoimmune diseases and allergic inflammatory diseases, but worsens protective immunity to certain infectious pathogens. In this review, we summarize current findings regarding the effects of helminth infection on type 1 diabetes, tuberculosis, and asthma and discuss possible mechanisms through which helminthic parasites modulate host immunity. Investigating these mechanisms could lead to treatment strategies that specifically modulate the immune response as well as address fundamental questions in immunobiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / parasitology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / parasitology*
  • Helminthiasis / immunology
  • Helminthiasis / parasitology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Tuberculosis / parasitology*