Parasitic worms aren’t all bad.
Parts of the world in which people are still regularly infected by them tend to have lower levels of autoimmune disease. This and other observations have led to the hygiene hypothesis, which posits that the ultra-clean, super-hygienic setting of the developed world may be responsible for the rise of chronic conditions such as allergies and asthma.
In theory, some health conditions that involve dysregulation of the immune system, especially out-of-control inflammation, might be treated by making the patient less hygienic. This, in turn, has led to helminth therapy, the purposeful infection of a patient with parasitic worms. To survive, some parasites “turn down” the host’s immune response, and evidence suggests that helminth infection can help patients suffering from allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.
Now, there is evidence that helminths could help treat obesity, a condition that also involves low-grade inflammation in fat (adipose) tissue.
Helminth Therapy for Obesity?
A research team from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University examined the effect of Heligmosomoides polygyrus, a type of parasitic worm (see upper left image), on obesity in mice. For 65 days, they fed mice either a control diet or a high fat diet. Then, some of the mice were infected with the helminth, while others were not.
As shown in the figure, mice fed a high fat diet (red line) gained much more weight than those that were fed a control diet (black line). However, mice that were fed a high fat diet and were infected with a helminth (blue line) gained far less weight. In fact, their weight was similar to the mice that consumed a control diet.
Importantly, the researchers also found that helminth infection changed the metabolic, genetic, and immunological profiles of the mice. For instance, genes associated with causing obesity were “turned off” in infected mice. Additionally, fat tissue in the infected mice had a greater number of “anti-inflammatory” immune cells than the obese, non-infected mice.
Finally, the researchers demonstrated that the “protection” conferred by the helminth infection could be transferred from one mouse to another. Immune cells were isolated from mice that were infected or not infected with the helminth. These cells were then transferred into mice being fed a high fat diet. Mice that received the immune cells from the helminth infected mice did not gain as much weight.
This study adds to the growing body of evidence that the human relationship with infectious worms is actually much more nuanced than we once believed. Instead of “parasites,” perhaps we should call them “frenemies with benefits.”
The Latest on: Parasitic worms
via Google News
The Latest on: Parasitic worms
- Stray cats carry dangerous parasites that can spread to humans on December 17, 2018 at 4:57 pm
IT is not well-known that stray cats that have not been dewormed often carry zoonotic parasites (parasites that can be transmitted from animals to humans). I carried out surveys on faecal samples from ... […]
- Scientists raised the alarm about hookworm in Alabama a year ago. The state has done little about it. on December 17, 2018 at 6:22 am
“We will notify you, and let you know about any particular parasites. Everything will remain confidential.” Then, McMeans took the researchers behind the trailer, to show them what they’d ... […]
- Half Million “Parasites” Can Block Decree on December 17, 2018 at 5:00 am
Do not rush to pay to the regime. Since December 1, the database of “parasites” has started to operate in Belarus. According to Labor Minister Iryna Kastsevich, 500 thousand people have been included ... […]
- "Parasites" Vs. Lukashenka: Run, Sasha. There Are Half a Million of Us on December 17, 2018 at 12:52 am
500 thousand Belarusians is an army. Since December 1 the "parasite" database has come into force. The most interesting thing is that even working people receive "letters of happiness". It gets worse ... […]
- Artificial intelligence-based device detects moving parasites in bodily fluid for easier, earlier diagnosis on December 14, 2018 at 1:04 pm
The device developed at UCLA Engineering can analyze more than 3 milliliters of fluid in 20 minutes, much faster than traditional imaging allows. Scientists typically diagnose parasitic infections by ... […]
- How to keep your family safe from parasites on December 13, 2018 at 2:03 pm
The word alone has the ability to make us shudder, but the reality is that parasites are pretty common when it comes to our beloved family pets. In fact, an Australian study 1 revealed that almost 24 ... […]
- Baculovirus virion completely eliminates liver-stage parasites in mouse model on December 12, 2018 at 9:11 pm
Currently, few antimalarial treatments exist that effectively kill liver-stage malaria parasites, which can lay dormant for months or years as in the case of Plasmodium vivax. Researchers from Kanazaw... […]
- Wednesday 11:00am on December 12, 2018 at 8:00 am
Oh, so many parasites. Please enjoy/cringe. Advertisement Kicking off 2018, troll-y memes about the deliciousness of Tide Pods began sprouting up across social media, and some adults actually ... […]
- Getting Rid Of Parasites The Safe, Natural Way on December 11, 2018 at 5:15 pm
It might be the fact that you are suffering from stomach upsets from time to time. This can be accentuated by loose stools and a constant feeling of nausea. If it is so, don’t be surprised if ... […]
via Bing News