Research Group Helminth Immunology

Research Group Helminth Immunology

A group of nine people posing for a photo outdoors with trees in the background. Some goats are visible behind them near a fence.
workgroup in the snow
AG Helminthen-Immunologie im Watt bei Büsum: eine Gruppe von 6 Menschen stehen barfuß und mich hochgekrempelten Hosen im Watt und lachen in die Kamera. Im Hintergrund ist ein wolkiger Himmel zu sehen.
Gruppenbild der Ag Helminthen-Immunologie: Zu sehen sind 7 Personen die auf einer Treppe als Gruppe gemeinsam stehen. Alle lachen in die Kamera.


One quarter of the world population is infected with parasitic worms that are called helminths. To avoid being eliminated these parasites actively dampen the immune response of their hosts. This helminth-induced immune modulation also suppresses immune responses to third-party antigens. As a consequence, helminth-infected people may not mount successful immune responses to concomitant infections or to vaccinations. We use the parasitic nematode Strongyloides ratti to investigate this in the mouse system. We are interested in (i) the mechanisms of protective anti-helminth immunity, (ii) the mechanisms of helminth-induced immunomodulation and (iii) the impact of concurrent helminth infection on the outcome of a vaccination against different pathogens.

Life cycle of Strongyloides ratti

Infective S. ratti third stage larvae (L3) live in the free world, actively penetrate the skin of their rodent host and migrate within 2 days via the tissue to the head.  L3 are swallowed, moult via a 4th larval stage to parasitic adults and embed into the mucosa of the small intestine by day 5 post infection. The parasitic adults reproduce by parthenogenesis. Eggs as well as hatched first stage larvae (L1) reach the free world with the faeces by day 6 and may either directly develop into infective L3 or introduce one free-living generation that displays sexual reproduction.

egg with 1st stage larvae

infective 3rd stage larvae

parasitic female

free living female with offspring

Prof. Dr. Minka Breloer: eine Forscherin, mit kinnlangen Haaren. Sie trägt eine gemusterte Bluse.
Research Group Leader

Prof. Dr. Minka Breloer

Telefon: +49 40 285380-830

Fax: +49 40 285380-400


Research Group Helminth Immunology

  • Logo Joachim Herz Stiftung
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  • Logo LCI
  • Logo_Alexander_von_Humboldt_Stiftung
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