Cystic and alveolar echinococcosis are severe chronic helminthic diseases caused by the cystic growth or the intrahepatic tumour-like growth of the metacestode of Echinococcus granulosus or Echinococcus multilocularis, respectively. Both parasites have evolved sophisticated strategies to escape host immune responses, mainly by manipulating and directing this immune response towards anergy and/or tolerance. Recent research studies have revealed a number of respective immunoregulatory mechanisms related to macrophages and dendritic cell as well as T cell activities (regulatory T cells, Tregs). A better understanding of this complex parasite-host relationship, and the elucidation of specific crucial events that lead to disease, represents targets towards the development of novel treatment strategies and options.
Keywords: Alveolar echinococcosis; Cystic echinococcosis; Dendritic cells; Fibrinogen-like protein 2; Macrophages; Regulatory T cells; TGF-β; Vaccination.
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