Worms: Pernicious parasites or allies against allergies?

Parasite Immunol. 2019 Jun;41(6):e12574. doi: 10.1111/pim.12574. Epub 2018 Aug 29.


Type 2 immune responses are most commonly associated with allergy and helminth parasite infections. Since the discovery of Th1 and Th2 immune responses more than 30 years ago, models of both allergic disease and helminth infections have been useful in characterizing the development, effector mechanisms and pathological consequences of type 2 immune responses. The observation that some helminth infections negatively correlate with allergic and inflammatory disease led to a large field of research into parasite immunomodulation. However, it is worth noting that helminth parasites are not always benign infections, and that helminth immunomodulation can have stimulatory as well as suppressive effects on allergic responses. In this review, we will discuss how parasitic infections change host responses, the consequences for bystander immunity and how this interaction influences clinical symptoms of allergy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Helminthiasis / parasitology
  • Helminths / genetics
  • Helminths / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Hypersensitivity / parasitology
  • Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Immunomodulation