Diversity and dialogue in immunity to helminths

Nat Rev Immunol. 2011 Jun;11(6):375-88. doi: 10.1038/nri2992.


The vertebrate immune system has evolved in concert with a broad range of infectious agents, including ubiquitous helminth (worm) parasites. The constant pressure of helminth infections has been a powerful force in shaping not only how immunity is initiated and maintained, but also how the body self-regulates and controls untoward immune responses to minimize overall harm. In this Review, we discuss recent advances in defining the immune cell types and molecules that are mobilized in response to helminth infection. Finally, we more broadly consider how these immunological players are blended and regulated in order to accommodate persistent infection or to mount a vigorous protective response and achieve sterile immunity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigenic Variation
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Genetic Variation / immunology
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Helminthiasis / parasitology
  • Helminths / immunology*
  • Helminths / physiology
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity / genetics
  • Immunity / immunology*
  • Models, Immunological
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism


  • Cytokines