Eosinophils in Helminth Infection: Defenders and Dupes

Trends Parasitol. 2016 Oct;32(10):798-807. doi: 10.1016/j.pt.2016.05.004. Epub 2016 Jun 1.


Eosinophilia is a central feature of the host response to helminth infection. Larval stages of parasitic worms are killed in vitro by eosinophils in the presence of specific antibodies or complement. These findings established host defense as the paradigm for eosinophil function. Recently, studies in eosinophil-ablated mouse strains have revealed an expanded repertoire of immunoregulatory functions for this cell. Other reports document crucial roles for eosinophils in tissue homeostasis and metabolism, processes that are central to the establishment and maintenance of parasitic worms in their hosts. In this review, we summarize current understanding of the significance of eosinophils at the host-parasite interface, highlighting their distinct functions during primary and secondary exposure.

Keywords: eosinophil; helminth; type 2 immunity.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eosinophilia / immunology*
  • Eosinophilia / parasitology*
  • Eosinophils / immunology*
  • Eosinophils / parasitology*
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / immunology*