Parasitic helminths and their isolated secreted products show promise as novel treatments for allergic and autoimmune conditions in humans. Foremost amongst the secreted products is ES-62, a glycoprotein derived from Acanthocheilonema viteae, a filarial nematode parasite of gerbils, which is anti-inflammatory by virtue of covalently-attached phosphorylcholine (PC) moieties. ES-62 has been found to protect against disease in mouse models of rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and airway hyper-responsiveness. Furthermore, novel PC-based synthetic small molecule analogues (SMAs) of ES-62 have recently been demonstrated to show similar anti-inflammatory properties to the parent molecule. In spite of these successes, we now show that ES-62 and its SMAs are unable to provide protection in mouse models of certain autoimmune conditions where other helminth species or their secreted products can prevent disease development, namely type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. We speculate on the reasons underlying ES-62's failures in these conditions and how the negative data generated may help us to further understand ES-62's mechanism of action.
Keywords: ES-62; helminth; inflammatory bowel disease; multiple sclerosis; nematode; type 1 diabetes.