Granulocytes in Helminth Infection - Who is Calling the Shots?
Abstract:Helminths are parasitic organisms that can be broadly described as “worms” due to their elongated body plan, but which otherwise differ in shape, development, migratory routes and the predilection site of the adults and larvae. They are divided into three major groups: trematodes (flukes), which are leaf-shaped, hermaphroditic (except for blood flukes) flatworms with oral and ventral suckers; cestodes (tapeworms), which are segmented, hermaphroditic flatworms that inhabit the intestinal lumen; and nematodes (roundworms), which are dioecious, cylindrical parasites that inhabit intestinal and peripheral tissue sites. Helminths exhibit a sublime co-evolution with the host's immune system that has enabled them to successfully colonize almost all multicellular species present in every geographical environment, including over two billion humans. In the face of this challenge, the host immune system has evolved to strike a delicate balance between attempts to neutralize the infectious assault versus limitation of damage to host tissues. Among the most important cell types during helminthic invasion are granulocytes: eosinophils, neutrophils and basophils. Depending on the specific context, these leukocytes may have pivotal roles in host protection, immunopathology, or facilitation of helminth establishment. This review provides an overview of the function of granulocytes in helminthic infections.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2012-04-01
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