Helminth-Related Tuftsin-Phosphorylcholine Compound and its Interplay with Autoimmune Diseases

Isr Med Assoc J. 2019 Mar;21(3):158-162.


The hygiene theory represents one of the environmental facets that modulate the risk for developing autoimmune diseases. There is a reverse correlation between the presence of helminthes and flares of autoimmune diseases, which explains the rise in incidence of certain autoimmune diseases in developed countries. The protective properties of certain helminthes are attributed to their secretory compounds which immunomodulate the host immune network in order to survive. Thus, the helminthes use an array of mechanisms. One of the major mechanisms enabling manipulation of the host-helminth interaction is by targeting the pattern recognition receptors (PRRs)-dependent and -independent mechanisms, which include toll-like receptors, C-type lectin receptors, and the inflammasome. The current review provides a glimpse of numerous helminth secreted products which have a role in the immunomodulation of the host immune network, focusing on bifunctional tuftsin-phosphorylcholine (TPC). TPC is a natural compound based on phosphorylcholine of helminth origin that was used in the past to cover stents and tuftsin, a self-peptide derived from the spleen. TPC was proven to be efficient in three murine experimental models (lupus, colitis, and arthritis) and ex vivo in giant cell arteritis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Helminths / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / immunology*
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Immunomodulation / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Phosphorylcholine / immunology*
  • Phosphorylcholine / pharmacology*
  • Tuftsin / immunology*
  • Tuftsin / pharmacology*


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Phosphorylcholine
  • Tuftsin