Gut-invading worms turn enemy T cells into friends

September 27, 2010

Intestinal worms sidestep the immune system by inducing the development of suppressive T cells, according to a study published on September 27th in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Immune are essential for the clearance of invading microbes, including intestinal worms, but turning off immune responses is essential for avoiding collateral tissue destruction. This job falls in part to a population of suppressive T cells called regulatory T (T reg) cells.

A team of researchers, led by Rick Maizels at the University of Edinburgh, show that gut-invading worms produce a that generates T reg cells in mice; in this way, the worms facilitate their own survival. When this T reg-inducing pathway was blocked, the worms were expelled from the body.

T reg cells allow worms to establish a foothold in the gut, but they're not all bad news. These cells also suppress allergic responses, which may explain why humans infected with intestinal worms tend to suffer less from allergies.

More information: Grainger, J.R., et al. 2010. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20101074

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Engineered protein treatment found to reduce obesity in mice, rats and primates

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. report that an engineered version of a protein naturally found in the body caused test mice, rats and cynomolgus monkeys to lose weight. In their ...

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

October 19, 2017
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have become the first to keep human brain tissue alive outside the body for several weeks. The researchers, headed by Dr. Niklas Schwarz, Dr. Henner Koch and Dr. Thomas Wuttke at ...

Cancer drug found to offer promising results in treating sepsis in test mice

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A combined team of researchers from China and the U.S. has found that a drug commonly used to treat lung cancer in humans offers a degree of protection against sepsis in test mice. In their paper published ...

Tracing cell death pathway points to drug targets for brain damage, kidney injury, asthma

October 19, 2017
University of Pittsburgh scientists are unlocking the complexities of a recently discovered cell death process that plays a key role in health and disease, and new findings link their discovery to asthma, kidney injury and ...

Study reveals key molecular link in major cell growth pathway

October 19, 2017
A team of scientists led by Whitehead Institute has uncovered a surprising molecular link that connects how cells regulate growth with how they sense and make available the nutrients required for growth. Their work, which ...

Inflammation trains the skin to heal faster

October 18, 2017
Scars may fade, but the skin remembers. New research from The Rockefeller University reveals that wounds or other harmful, inflammation-provoking experiences impart long-lasting memories to stem cells residing in the skin, ...

0 comments

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.