For decades molecular helminthologists have been interested in identifying proteins expressed by the parasite that have roles in modulating the host immune response. In some cases, the aim was targeting parasite-derived orthologues of mammalian cytokines and growth factors known to have functions in immune modulation. In others, novel proteins without homology to mammalian cytokines were isolated by investigating effects of purified worm extracts on various immunological processes. Often, the role parasite-derived growth factors play in worm development was ignored. Here, we review growth factors and chemotactic factors expressed by parasitic helminths and discuss their recognised and potential roles in immunomodulation and/or parasite development.
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