Infection with Hymenolepis diminuta is more effective than daily corticosteroids in blocking chemically induced colitis in mice

J Biomed Biotechnol. 2010;2010:384523. doi: 10.1155/2010/384523.


Purpose: To compare infection with the tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, with steroid (dexamethasone) administration in the inhibition of dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid- (DNBS-) induced colitis in mice.

Procedures: Mice were treated with DNBS +/- infected with H. diminuta or treated with daily dexamethasone (2 mg/Kg, ip.) and were assessed 72 hours post-DNBS by the calculation of disease activity and histological damage scores, and spleen cell cytokine production.

Results: H. diminuta-infected mice showed increased IL-4 and IL-10 production by spleen cells compared to other groups and were protected from DNBS-induced colitis. In contrast, there was little benefit of dexamethasone in the treatment of colitis. Collagen deposition in the colon was not different between the groups.

Conclusions: H. diminuta was superior to dexamethasone in the prevention of DNBS-induced colitis and did not result in additional side effects (i.e., collagen deposition). Comparisons with current therapeutics and long-term followup to studies are essential if "helminth therapy" is to become a viable treatment for specific inflammatory diseases in the gut or other tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Benzenesulfonates / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / drug therapy
  • Colitis / parasitology
  • Colitis / prevention & control*
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eosinophils / parasitology
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Hymenolepiasis / parasitology*
  • Hymenolepis diminuta*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Spleen / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Benzenesulfonates
  • Cytokines
  • dinitrobenzenesulfonic acid
  • Dexamethasone
  • Collagen