Mouse Models of Genetic Variation in Resistance to Helminth Parasites

  • D. Wakelin


Clinical and field studies of populations in endemic areas have, over many years, produced convincing evidence of individual, racial and breed variation in ability to develop resistance to helminth infections (Wakelin, 1978a). The existence of variation has been inferred from differences in the prevalence and intensity of infection, as well as from differences in pathological manifestations in the host. By their nature, such observations have been essentially descriptive and have not been concerned with identifying the mechanisms through which variation is generated. However, in recent years there have been a number of studies — for example, of schistosomiasis and filariasis in man (Abdel-Salem et al., 1979; Ellner et al., 1981; Piessens et al., 1980; Ogilvie and MacKenzie, 1980) and of gastrointestinal helminthiases in sheep (Dargie, this volume) — which have attempted to define variations in resistance in functional and genetic terms. At the same time, there has been an increasing interest in the analysis of genetically determined variation in resistance to helminths in laboratory systems. Clearly, such experimental systems, and particularly those using mice, have many advantages. The genetic and immunological characteristics of the host are well defined and readily manipulated; random-bred, inbred, congenic, recombinant and mutant strains are available; selective breeding can be carried out easily; large numbers of animals can be used; and the parameters of resistance can be measured with precision.


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© The contributors 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Wakelin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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