Immunology of lymphatic filariasis.

Babu S , Nutman TB.

Parasite Immunology; 2014; 36; 338-346.

Summary: The immune responses to filarial parasites encompass a complex network of innate and adaptive cells whose interaction with the parasite underlies a spectrum of clinical manifestations. The predominant immunological feature of lymphatic filariasis is an antigen-specific Th2 response and an expansion of IL-10 producing CD4 + T cells that is accompanied by a muted Th1 response. This antigen-specific T-cell hypo-responsiveness appears to be crucial for the maintenance of the sustained, long-standing infection often with high parasite densities. While the correlates of protective immunity to lymphatic filariasis are still incompletely understood, primarily due to the lack of suitable animal models to study susceptibility, it is clear that T cells and to a certain extent B cells are required for protective immunity. Host immune responses, especially CD4 + T-cell responses clearly play a role in mediating pathological manifestations of LF, including lymphedema, hydrocele and elephantiasis. The main underlying defect in the development of clinical pathology appears to be a failure to induce T-cell hypo-responsiveness in the face of antigenic stimulation. Finally, another intriguing feature of filarial infections is their propensity to induce bystander effects on a variety of immune responses, including responses to vaccinations, allergens and to other infectious agents. The complexity of the immune response to filarial infection therefore provides an important gateway to understanding the regulation of immune responses to chronic infections, in general.


Keywords : B cells; cytokines; filariasis; helminthes; parasites; T cells

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