The emering role of helminths in treatment of the inflammatory bowel disorders

J Physiol Pharmacol. 2014 Dec;65(6):741-51.


The problem of immune-mediated diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disorders (IBDs), still remains a significant clinical and therapeutic problem. Therefore, the tendency to search for safer and more effective methods of reducing their incidence and increasing the efficiency of therapy of this group of diseases is understandable. Recently, attention has been drawn to the potential therapeutic influence of intestinal helminths on the inflammatory process induced by the immune response, as well as the observed significant potential of these organisms for modulating the host immune response, which is beneficial both for the dwelling parasite and the host with an IBD. It has been proven that the effects of certain intestinal helminths on the host immune system are complex and omni-directional. They involve the modulation of TLRs expression, causing proliferation and activation of TH2 lymphocytes, leading to proliferation of regulatory T cells (TREG), and production of immunomodulatory proteins, such as cystatins and glycoprotein ES-62. In the developing countries of Africa, South America and Asia, where the level of personal and environmental hygiene is relatively low, the incidence of autoimmune diseases is also significantly lower. Limited exposure to common bacterial and parasitic pathogens in populations of very highly developed countries has probably contributed to depletion of immunological memory and the development of hypersensitivity mechanisms. Thus, reasonable suggestions have been made that the host-parasite biocenotic relationship between humans and nematodes of the gastrointestinal tract can be considered as a mutualism, rather than a typical parasitism, and may in the future be used as an alternative therapeutic model for IBD patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Hygiene Hypothesis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / genetics
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / parasitology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*
  • Nematoda
  • Nematode Infections / parasitology*