Immunoregulation by microbes and parasites in the control of allergy and autoimmunity

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Key changes in our microbial environment, encompassing mycobacteria, helminth worms and commensal microflora, may each have had a major impact on the development and reactivity of our immune system not only to infections, but also in the context of harmless antigens in autoimmunity and allergy. We discuss here recent advances in understanding host-microbe and host-parasite interactions, and their impact on the balance between immunoregulation and immunopathology in the mammalian immune system.