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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 743758, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/743758
Review Article

Parasitic Helminths: New Weapons against Immunological Disorders

Department of Immunology and Parasitology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan, Kitakyushu 807-8555, Japan

Received 27 July 2009; Accepted 25 November 2009

Academic Editor: Luis I. Terrazas

Copyright © 2010 Yoshio Osada and Tamotsu Kanazawa. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The prevalence of allergic and autoimmune diseases is increasing in developed countries, possibly due to reduced exposure to microorganisms in childhood (hygiene hypothesis). Epidemiological and experimental evidence in support of this hypothesis is accumulating. In this context, parasitic helminths are now important candidates for antiallergic/anti-inflammatory agents. Here we summarize antiallergic/anti-inflammatory effects of helminths together along with our own study of the effects of Schistosoma mansoni on Th17-dependent experimental arthritis. We also discuss possible mechanisms of helminth-induced suppression according to the recent advances of immunology.