Recombinant proteins of helminths with immunoregulatory properties and their possible therapeutic use

Acta Trop. 2017 Feb;166:202-211. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2016.11.016. Epub 2016 Nov 18.


The inverse relationship between helminth infections and the development of immune-mediated diseases is a cornerstone of the hygiene hypothesis and studies were carried out to elucidate the mechanisms by which helminth-derived molecules can suppress immunological disorders. These studies have fostered the idea that parasitic worms may be used as a promising therapeutic alternative for prevention and treatment of immune-mediated diseases. We discuss the current approaches for identification of helminth proteins with potential immunoregulatory properties, including the strategies based on high-throughput technologies. We also explore the methodological approaches and expression systems used for production of the recombinant forms of more than 20 helminth immunomodulatory proteins, besides their performances when evaluated as immunotherapeutic molecules to treat different immune-mediated conditions, including asthma and inflammatory bowel diseases. Finally, we discuss the perspectives of using these parasite-derived recombinant molecules as tools for future immunotherapy and immunoprophylaxis of human inflammatory diseases.

Keywords: Expression systems; Helminthes; Immunomodulation; Inflammatory diseases; Recombinant proteins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Helminth Proteins / physiology*
  • Helminths
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Immunomodulation
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Recombinant Proteins


  • Helminth Proteins
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Recombinant Proteins