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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 101848, 11 pages
Review Article

The Influence of MHC and Immunoglobulins A and E on Host Resistance to Gastrointestinal Nematodes in Sheep

1Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute and Western Australian Biomedical Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6845, Australia
2Department of Animal Production and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, Bearsden Road, Glasgow G61 1QH, UK

Received 29 November 2010; Revised 17 February 2011; Accepted 18 February 2011

Academic Editor: Alvin A. Gajadhar

Copyright © 2011 C. Y. Lee 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.


Gastrointestinal nematode parasites in farmed animals are of particular importance due to their effects on production. In Australia, it is estimated that the direct and indirect effects of parasite infestation cost the animal production industries hundreds of millions of dollars each year. The main factors considered by immunologists when studying gastrointestinal nematode infections are the effects the host's response has on the parasite, which immunological components are responsible for these effects, genetic factors involved in controlling immunological responses, and the interactions between these forming an interconnecting multilevel relationship. In this paper, we describe the roles of immunoglobulins, in particular IgA and IgE, and the major histocompatibility complex in resistance to gastrointestinal parasites in sheep. We also draw evidence from other animal models to support the involvement of these immune components. Finally, we examine how IgA and IgE exert their influence and how methods may be developed to manage susceptible animals.