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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 913696, 19 pages
Review Article

Helminth Parasites Alter Protection against Plasmodium Infection

1Unidad de Biomedicina, Facultad de Estudios Superiores-Iztacala, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Avenida de los Barrios No. 1, Los Reyes Iztacala, 54090 Tlalnepantla, MEX, Mexico
2Laboratorio de Inmunología Molecular, Facultad de Estudios Superiores Zaragoza, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Batalla 5 de Mayo esquina Fuerte de Loreto, 09230 Iztapalapa, DF, Mexico

Received 6 June 2014; Accepted 6 August 2014; Published 8 September 2014

Academic Editor: Abraham Landa-Piedra

Copyright © 2014 Víctor H. Salazar-Castañon et al. 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.


More than one-third of the world’s population is infected with one or more helminthic parasites. Helminth infections are prevalent throughout tropical and subtropical regions where malaria pathogens are transmitted. Malaria is the most widespread and deadliest parasitic disease. The severity of the disease is strongly related to parasite density and the host’s immune responses. Furthermore, coinfections between both parasites occur frequently. However, little is known regarding how concomitant infection with helminths and Plasmodium affects the host’s immune response. Helminthic infections are frequently massive, chronic, and strong inductors of a Th2-type response. This implies that infection by such parasites could alter the host’s susceptibility to subsequent infections by Plasmodium. There are a number of reports on the interactions between helminths and Plasmodium; in some, the burden of Plasmodium parasites increased, but others reported a reduction in the parasite. This review focuses on explaining many of these discrepancies regarding helminth-Plasmodium coinfections in terms of the effects that helminths have on the immune system. In particular, it focuses on helminth-induced immunosuppression and the effects of cytokines controlling polarization toward the Th1 or Th2 arms of the immune response.