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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 639362, 12 pages
Review Article

Host-Parasite Relationship in Cystic Echinococcosis: An Evolving Story

1Dipartimento di Malattie Infettive, Parassitarie e Immunomediate, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Roma, Italy
2Dipartimento di Biologia Cellulare e Neuroscienze, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Roma, Italy
3Dipartimento di Malattie Infettive e Tropicali, Ospedale Sant'Andrea, Sapienza-Università di Roma, Via di Grottarossa, 00189 Roma, Italy

Received 15 July 2011; Accepted 27 September 2011

Academic Editor: Antonio Cascio

Copyright © 2012 Alessandra Siracusano 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.


The larval stage of Echinococcus granulosus causes cystic echinococcosis, a neglected infectious disease that constitutes a major public health problem in developing countries. Despite being under constant barrage by the immune system, E. granulosus modulates antiparasite immune responses and persists in the human hosts with detectable humoral and cellular responses against the parasite. In vitro and in vivo immunological approaches, together with molecular biology and immunoproteomic technologies, provided us exciting insights into the mechanisms involved in the initiation of E. granulosus infection and the consequent induction and regulation of the immune response. Although the last decade has clarified many aspects of host-parasite relationship in human cystic echinococcosis, establishing the full mechanisms that cause the disease requires more studies. Here, we review some of the recent developments and discuss new avenues in this evolving story of E. granulosus infection in man.