Interaction Between Helminths and Toll-Like Receptors: Possibilities and Potentials for Asthma Therapy

Int Rev Immunol. 2016 May 3;35(3):219-48. doi: 10.3109/08830185.2015.1096936. Epub 2016 Apr 27.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are essential components of the innate immune system. They play an important role in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases, especially asthma. Since TLRs significantly orchestrate innate and adaptive immune response, their manipulation has widely been considered as a potential approach to control asthma symptoms. It is well established that helminths have immunoregulatory effects on host immune responses, especially innate immunity. They release bioactive molecules such as excretory-secretory (ES) products manipulating TLRs expression and signaling. Thus, given the promising results derived from preclinical studies, harnessing helminth-derived molecules affecting TLRs can be considered as a potential biological therapy for allergic diseases. Prospectively, the data that are available at present suggest that, in the near future, it is possible that helminth antigens will offer new therapeutic strategies and druggable targets for fighting allergic diseases. This review describes the interactions between helminths and TLRs and discusses the potential possibilities for asthma therapy. In this opinion paper, the authors aimed to review the updated literatures on the interplay between helminths, TLRs, and asthma with a view to proposing helminth-based asthma therapy.

Keywords: asthma; helminth therapy; innate immunity; toll-like receptors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Helminth / immunology*
  • Antigens, Helminth / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Biological Therapy*
  • Helminths / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunologic Factors / immunology*
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism*


  • Antigens, Helminth
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Toll-Like Receptors