Immune responses in children infected with the pinworm Enterobius vermicularis in central Greece

J Helminthol. 2016 May;90(3):337-41. doi: 10.1017/S0022149X15000334. Epub 2015 May 20.


Previous studies have suggested an immunomodulatory and even protective role for Enterobius vermicularis, the least pathogenic human intestinal helminth. Here, in a study using haematological and serological parameters, we tested a total of 215 children from central Greece, with a mean age of 8.39, of whom 105 (48.84%) were infected with E. vermicularis and 110 (51.16%) were matched healthy controls. In particular, we analysed eosinophil counts (EO), serum eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), total and specific serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) and the ECP/EO ratio. The atopic status and the potential occurrence of clinically expressed allergic diseases were both taken into account. Eosinophils, ECP and IgE were found to be higher in infected than in uninfected children, indicating a type-2 immune response activation during infection. Atopic infected children exhibited higher IgE levels compared to non-atopic ones. EO and ECP were found to be lower in atopic children who had a history of allergic disease than in those with no such history. The type-2 oriented immune response elicited against E. vermicularis could contribute to a balanced activation of the immune system in the examined children. Interestingly, although the atopic children showed a stronger activation, they did not exhibit any symptoms and, moreover, there seemed to be some indication of immunosuppression in those children with a positive history of allergic disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enterobiasis / immunology*
  • Enterobius / immunology*
  • Enterobius / isolation & purification
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Infant
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male


  • Immunoglobulin E