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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Molecules of parasites as immunomodulatory drugs.

Parasite molecules offer unique advantages for the treatment of immunologicical disorders, and several candidate molecules have been shown to be effective. In our studies, it was shown that a factor inducing immunoglobulin E from filarial nematode parasites was suppressive in animal models of immunological disorders such as allergy and insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). The Th1/Th2 paradigm of CD4+ T helper cell subsets can provide the basis for the development of new types of drugs and of novel strategies for the treatment of allergic and autoimmune disorders by parasite molecules. In our experimental system, parasite molecules from a filarial nematode parasite led to the down-regulation of the allergic reaction in animal models. In the majority of hosts, infection with helminths is associated with markedly reduced cellular immune reactions and polarization of T cell responses to Th2 and Th3 types. Some studies have suggested that the stimulation of host immunoregulatory networks with parasite molecules leading to the synthesis of anti-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin10, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta and others) can provide new therapy for immunological disorders. It is known that parasites produce some types of molecule that mimic host molecules such as CD40 ligand, TGF-beta and macrophage migration inhibitory factor. These molecules are also candidates for medicinal agents. This review describes many of the latest possibilities in this field and shows how they can be best put to use for the development of medicinal agents, molecular target identification, and for prioritization.[1]


  1. Molecules of parasites as immunomodulatory drugs. Imai, S., Fujita, K. Current topics in medicinal chemistry. (2004) [Pubmed]
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