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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 262609, 14 pages
Review Article

Similarity and Diversity in Macrophage Activation by Nematodes, Trematodes, and Cestodes

Institute of Immunology & Infection Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK

Received 15 September 2009; Accepted 7 October 2009

Academic Editor: Luis I. Terrazas

Copyright © 2010 Stephen J. Jenkins and Judith E. Allen. 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.


This review summarizes current knowledge of macrophages in helminth infections, with a focus not only on delineating the striking similarities in macrophage phenotype between diverse infections but also on highlighting the differences. Findings from many different labs illustrate that macrophages in helminth infection can act as anti-parasite effectors but can also act as powerful immune suppressors. The specific role for their alternative (Th2-mediated) activation in helminth killing or expulsion versus immune regulation remains to be determined. Meanwhile, the rapid growth in knowledge of alternatively activated macrophages will require an even more expansive view of their potential functions to include repair of host tissue and regulation of host metabolism.