Short-term intestinal parasite infection triggers specific cytokines that can prevent the development of type 1 diabetes

July 19, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Short-term infection with intestinal worms may provide long-term protection against type I diabetes (TID), suggests a study conducted by William Gause, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School. The research has been published in the journal Mucosal Immunology.

The incidence of TID—a form of the disease in which the body’s own immune attack the insulin-producing islet cells of the pancreas—is relatively low in developing countries. One explanation for this phenomenon is the prevalence of chronic intestinal worm infections, which dampen the self-aggressive T cells that cause and other autoimmune diseases. Understanding how T cells are tamed during worm infection could lead to new strategies to control these inflammatory diseases.

Dr. Gause’s team, including Pankaj Mishra, PhD, in his laboratory, and David Bleich, MD, now shows that a two-week infection with the intestinal worm H. polygyrus (cured using oral drugs) prompted T cells to produce the cytokines interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-10, which acted independently to provide lasting protection against TID in mice. A similar approach using eggs from another parasitic worm, Trichuris suis, is currently being tested in clinical trials in patients with Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. The studies presented in this paper now provide potential mechanisms explaining the potency of parasite-induced control of inflammatory diseases.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

How to become a T follicular helper cell

July 30, 2015

Follicular helper Tcells (TFH cells), a rare type of immune cell that is essential for inducing a strong and lasting antibody response to viruses and other microbes, have garnered intense interest in recent years but the ...

Uncovering the secrets of immune system invaders

July 20, 2015

The human immune system is a powerful and wonderful creation. If you cut your skin, your body mobilizes a series of different proteins and cells to heal the cut. If you are infected by a virus or bacteria, your immune system ...

The role of the microbiota in preventing allergies

July 10, 2015

The human body is inhabited by billions of symbiotic bacteria, carrying a diversity that is unique to each individual. The microbiota is involved in many mechanisms, including digestion, vitamin synthesis and host defense. ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gwrede
not rated yet Jul 19, 2012
One of the better reasons to lose weight has been fear of diabetes. Now we stand to lose even that motivation.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.