Intestinal parasites infection: protective effect in rheumatoid arthritis?

Rev Bras Reumatol Engl Ed. 2017 Sep-Oct;57(5):461-465. doi: 10.1016/j.rbre.2016.06.004. Epub 2016 Jul 22.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune inflammatory disease, with a progressive course, characterized by chronic synovitis that may evolve with deformities and functional disability, and whose early treatment minimizes joint damage. Its etiopathogenesis is not fully elucidated but comprises immunologic responses mediated by T helper cells (Th1). An apparent minor severity of RA in patients from regions with lower income could be associated with a higher prevalence of gut parasites, especially helminths. Strictly, a shift in the immune response toward the predominance of T helper cells (Th2), due to the chronic exposure to helminths, could modulate negatively the inflammation in RA patients, resulting in lower severity/joint injury. The interaction between the immunological responses of parasitic helminths in rheumatoid arthritis patients is the purpose of this paper.

Keywords: Artrite reumatoide; Helminth infections; Immunomodulation; Imunomodulação; Parasitoses intestinais; Rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / parasitology*
  • Helminthiasis / complications
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation
  • Protective Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / parasitology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / parasitology