Regulation of immunity and allergy by helminth parasites

Allergy. 2020 Mar;75(3):524-534. doi: 10.1111/all.13944. Epub 2019 Jul 18.


There is increasing interest in helminth parasite modulation of the immune system, both from the fundamental perspective of the "arms race" between host and parasite, and equally importantly, to understand if parasites offer new pathways to abate and control untoward immune responses in humans. This article reviews the epidemiological and experimental evidence for parasite down-regulation of host immunity and immunopathology, in allergy and other immune disorders, and recent progress towards defining the mechanisms and molecular mediators which parasites exploit in order to modulate their host. Among these are novel products that interfere with epithelial cell alarmins, dendritic cell activation, macrophage function and T-cell responsiveness through the promotion of an immunoregulatory environment. These modulatory effects assist parasites to establish and survive, while dampening immune reactivity to allergens, autoantigens and microbiome determinants.

Keywords: allergy treatment; basic mechanisms; parasites.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Helminthiasis*
  • Helminths*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity*
  • Parasites*