Immunity to Gastrointestinal Nematodes: Mechanisms and Myths

Immunol Rev. 2014 Jul;260(1):183-205. doi: 10.1111/imr.12188.


Immune responses to gastrointestinal nematodes have been studied extensively for over 80 years and intensively investigated over the last 30-40 years. The use of laboratory models has led to the discovery of new mechanisms of protective immunity and made major contributions to our fundamental understanding of both innate and adaptive responses. In addition to host protection, it is clear that immunoregulatory processes are common in infected individuals and resistance often operates alongside modulation of immunity. This review aims to discuss the recent discoveries in both host protection and immunoregulation against gastrointestinal nematodes, placing the data in context of the specific life cycles imposed by the different parasites studied and the future challenges of considering the mucosal/immune axis to encompass host, parasite, and microbiome in its widest sense.

Keywords: cytokines; inflammation; parasitic helminth.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / parasitology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunomodulation
  • Mucous Membrane / immunology
  • Mucous Membrane / metabolism
  • Mucous Membrane / parasitology
  • Nematoda / physiology
  • Nematode Infections / immunology
  • Nematode Infections / metabolism
  • Nematode Infections / parasitology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism