Immune responses in hookworm infections

Loukas, Alex and Prociv, Paul (2001) Immune responses in hookworm infections. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 14 4: 689-703. doi:10.1128/CMR.14.4.689-703.2001

Author Loukas, Alex
Prociv, Paul
Title Immune responses in hookworm infections
Journal name Clinical Microbiology Reviews   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0893-8512
Publication date 2001-10
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1128/CMR.14.4.689-703.2001
Volume 14
Issue 4
Start page 689
End page 703
Total pages 15
Editor B.A. Forbes
Place of publication Washington, DC, U.S.A.
Publisher American Society of Microbiology
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Subject C1
320299 Immunology not elsewhere classified
730102 Immune system and allergy
320405 Medical Parasitology
730101 Infectious diseases
Abstract Hookworms infect perhaps one-fifth of the entire human population, yet little is known about their interaction with our immune system. The two major species are Necator americanus, which is adapted to tropical conditions, and Ancylostoma duodenale, which predominates in more temperate zones. While having many common features, they also differ in several key aspects of their biology. Host immune responses are triggered by larval invasion of the skin, larval migration through the circulation and lungs, and worm establishment in the intestine, where adult worms feed on blood and mucosa while injecting various molecules that facilitate feeding and modulate host protective responses. Despite repeated exposure, protective immunity does not seem to develop in humans, so that infections occur in all age groups (depending on exposure patterns) and tend to be prolonged. Responses to both larval and adult worms have a characteristic T-helper type 2 profile, with activated mast cells in the gut mucosa, elevated levels of circulating immunoglobulin E, and eosinoophilia in the peripheral blood and local tissues, features also characteristic of type I hypersensitivity reactions. The longevity of adult hookworms is determined probably more by parasite genetics than by host immunity. However, many of the proteins released by the parasites seem to have immunomodulatory activity, presumably for self-protection. Advances in molecular biotechnology enable the identification and characterization of increasing numbers of these parasite molecules and should enhance our detailed understanding of the protective and pathogenetic mechanisms in hookworm infections.
Keyword Microbiology
Necator-americanus Infection
Excretory-secretory Products
Neutrophil Inhibitory Factor
Human Enteric Infection
Parasitic Nematode
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: Institute for Molecular Bioscience - Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 101 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 14 Aug 2007, 16:47:58 EST