Mucosal and systemic immune modulation by Trichuris trichiura in a self-infected individual

Parasite Immunol. 2017 Jan;39(1). doi: 10.1111/pim.12394. Epub 2016 Dec 14.


Helminthic therapy of immune-mediated diseases has gained attention in recent years, but we know little of how helminths modulate human immunity. In this study, we investigated how self-infection with Trichuris (T.) trichiura in an adult man without intestinal disease affected mucosal and systemic immunity. Colonic mucosal biopsies were obtained at baseline, during T. trichiura infection, and after its clearance following mebendazole treatment. Unexpectedly, the volunteer experienced a Campylobacter colitis following T. trichiura clearance, and this served as a positive infectious control. Trichuris trichiura colonization induced equally increased expressions of T-helper (h)1-, Th2-, Th17- and Treg-associated cytokines and transcription factors, measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. We observed several indicators of modulation of systemic immunity during the T. trichiura infection. Plasma eosinophils and anti-Trichuris antibodies rose markedly during the inoculation phase, and a shift towards a Th2-dominated T cell response at the expense of the Th1-response was observed in circulating T cells. Taken together, our findings corroborate that helminths modulate regional and systemic human immunity.

Keywords: Trichuris; helminths; immunology; trichiura.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Campylobacter Infections / complications
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal*
  • Intestinal Mucosa
  • Male
  • Mebendazole / therapeutic use
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • Trichuriasis / complications
  • Trichuriasis / immunology*
  • Trichuris / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • Mebendazole