Polyparasitism and its impact on the immune system

Int J Parasitol. 2010 Aug 15;40(10):1171-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2010.05.003. Epub 2010 May 23.


Parasitic infections are common in many tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world and concomitant infection, polyparasitism, is the rule rather than the exception in such areas. At the immunological level, different parasites induce quite different responses characterised, for example, by protozoa that polarise responses towards Th1, whilst helminths are strong Th2 and regulatory T cell inducers. The question of how the co-existence of such parasites within the same host might influence the immunological responses to each species and, more importantly, whether such interactions affect resistance, susceptibility or clinical outcome, needs to be addressed in well-designed studies of sufficient power. The current paper discusses what we know as well as the gaps in our knowledge of polyparasitism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Helminthiasis / complications
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Helminthiasis / parasitology
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Protozoan Infections / complications
  • Protozoan Infections / immunology*
  • Protozoan Infections / parasitology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / physiology