Research

Compounds released by intestinal worms influence the immune system

We are characterising substances that intestinal worms use to dampen the immune response of their hosts.

Section of a three-dimensional intestinal cell culture. The nuclei of cells show in dark blue (Photography: Maren Jannasch).
Section of a three-dimensional intestinal cell culture. The nuclei of cells show in dark blue (Photography: Maren Jannasch).

In a three-dimensional culture of human intestinal cells, we studied proteins that are released by threadworms (Stronglyloides ratti) in the intestinal tract. We found that several of them trigger the production of messenger molecules like interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-33, which may contribute to suppressing inflammatory immune responses in the intestine. We are hopeful that medications may be developed some day from these kinds of worm products to counteract Crohn’s disease and other auto-inflammatory bowel disorders.

 


Younis A.E. et al., Microbes Infect. 2012, 14:279-89.

Abuelhassan Elshazly Younis, Hans Soblik, Frank Geisinger, Silke van Hoorn, Klaus Erttmann, Norbert Brattig, and external cooperation partners (see publication)