, Volume 100, Issue 5, pp 921-927
Date: 06 Jan 2007

The use of Trichuris suis and other helminth therapies to treat Crohn’s disease

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Abstract

Infections with gastrointestinal (GI) nematodes are prevalent worldwide, despite the fact that anti-helminthic medications are regarded as safe, efficient, and widely available globally. In this review, we highlight the potential therapeutic benefits that may be realized through the clinical use of Trichuris suis and other helminths for Crohn’s disease (CD). Long-lived helminthic parasites are remarkable in their ability to down-regulate host immunity, protecting themselves from elimination, and also minimize severe pathological host changes. This review summarizes what is known about the underlying mechanisms that may account for the observed patterns in humans treated with helminths for CD. The Th2 arm of the immune system is emphasized as a component of primary importance in the association between the host immune system and GI nematode infections. Although GI nematode infections in humans cause significant morbidity and mortality, the existence and nature of protective mechanisms these helminths may confer remain largely unclear.