The impact of chronic helminth infection on inflammatory disease

C Zaph

Monash University, 15 Innovation Walk, Clayton, VIC, 3800

The human immune system co-evolved with a wide range of infectious organisms including helminth parasites. It has been proposed that the lack of infection during the development of the immune system is partially responsible for the increased incidence of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and diabetes. Based on this hygiene hypothesis, helminth parasites have been examined for their immunomodulatory functions during inflammatory disease with varying degrees of success. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of helminth-mediated immune regulation are unclear. Here I will present data from our lab that focuses on the influence of the helminth parasite Trichuris muris on the development of allergic lung inflammation. Further, I will show new data highlighting the effect of helminth infection on hematopoiesis. These studies provide a mechanistic model for how helminth parasites modulate inflammatory disease.