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Amoebas causing amoebic dysentery carry on their surfaces a substance that significantly enhances a specific immune reaction in the host. The substance is composed of an interesting combination of carbohydrates, peptides, phosphate residues and lipid chains.
It causes a release of messengers that attract and activate certain immune cells and thereby could trigger or increase the pathogenic effect of these amoebas. In what regard this helps the amoebas to survive in humans remains elusive. Possibly the immunostimulatory activity – or indeed the amoeba pathogenicity itself – is merely an accident. It is clear, however, that the immunostimulatory activity of this amoeba product can be used to enhance our immune reaction against other pathogens such as Leishmania or Mycobacterium tuberculosis or to modulate our immune response to vaccines.
Hanna Lotter, Hannah Bernin, Egbert Tannich and external co-operation partners (see patent applications)