Trichuris muris: a model of gastrointestinal parasite infection

Semin Immunopathol. 2012 Nov;34(6):815-28. doi: 10.1007/s00281-012-0348-2. Epub 2012 Oct 11.


Infection with soil-transmitted gastrointestinal parasites, such as Trichuris trichiura, affects more than a billion people worldwide, causing significant morbidity and health problems especially in poverty-stricken developing countries. Despite extensive research, the role of the immune system in triggering parasite expulsion is incompletely understood which hinders the development of anti-parasite therapies. Trichuris muris infection in mice serves as a useful model of T. trichiura infection in humans and has proven to be an invaluable tool in increasing our understanding of the role of the immune system in promoting either susceptibility or resistance to infection. The old paradigm of a susceptibility-associated Th1 versus a resistance-associated Th2-type response has been supplemented in recent years with cell populations such as novel innate lymphoid cells, basophils, dendritic cells and regulatory T cells proposed to play an active role in responses to T. muris infection. Moreover, new immune-controlled mechanisms of expulsion, such as increased epithelial cell turnover and mucin secretion, have been described in recent years increasing the number of possible targets for anti-parasite therapies. In this review, we give a comprehensive overview of experimental work conducted on the T. muris infection model, focusing on important findings and the most recent reports on the role of the immune system in parasite expulsion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Trichuriasis / genetics
  • Trichuriasis / immunology*
  • Trichuris / growth & development
  • Trichuris / immunology*