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Open Access Editorial [ Hot Topic:Immunomodulation in Helminth Infections (Guest Editor: Prof. Fabrizio Bruschi)]

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Helminths, particularly those localized at intestinal level, represent a major public health problem at global level, with an estimation of over 3.5 billion of human infections [1].

This Hot topic issue of ENDOCRINE, METABOLIC AND IMMUNE DISORDERS-DRUG TARGETS is entirely devoted to immunomodulation of helminth infections. It is intended to illustrate the recent results obtained in the field of host-parasite relations in these infections. These are characterised usually by a persistent Th2 polarization, with eosinophilia and increased total IgE levels, and for this reason they represent ideal models to study allergy and other Th2-mediated pathological conditions. Epidemiological evidence has accumulated suggesting that helminth infection or products derived by these parasites protect against the development of autoimmune and allergic diseases. The mechanisms underlying this protection may include regulatory cells and cytokines [2]. Furthermore, many of these parasites have been studied for the ability to produce molecules modulating host immune response, hookworm is a typical example. This parasite in fact produces the so-called N.I.F. (neutrophil inhibitory factor) a protein which is the ligand of the integrin CD11b/CD18 molecule, present on the surface of neutrophil granulocytes, blocking the adherence of inflammatory cells to endothelium. For this reason, it has been postulated a possible therapeutic use of the protein in neutrophil-mediated human pathology [3]. Many other molecules helminth-derived have been described, representing a real pharmacopoeia [4].

Immunomodulation will be considered in different helminth infections.

Trichinellosis is a widely spread zoonotic infection caused by Trichinella spp. in mammals, birds as well as in reptiles. In experimental model of such infection, it was recently shown that eosinophils, considered until now only for effector functions may play also a regulatory role [5]. Data are accumulating which show that infection with this helminth may affect the evolution of experimental models of human diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and respiratory allergy or inflammation [6]....
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • This journal is devoted to timely reviews of experimental and clinical studies in the field of endocrine, metabolic, and immune disorders. Specific emphasis is placed on humoral and cellular targets for natural, synthetic, and genetically engineered drugs that enhance or impair endocrine, metabolic, and immune parameters and functions. Topics related to the neuroendocrine-immune axis are given special emphasis in view of the growing interest in stress-related, inflammatory, autoimmune, and degenerative disorders.
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