Review series on helminths, immune modulation and the hygiene hypothesis: Mechanisms underlying helminth modulation of dendritic cell function


Dr E. J. Pearce, Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 318 Hill Pavilion, 380 S. University Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Email:
Senior author: Lucas Carvalho, email:


Dendritic cells (DCs) play a central role in activating CD4 T (T helper, Th) cells. As a component of their response to pathogen-associated stimuli, DCs produce cytokines and express surface molecules that provide important cues to modulate the effector functions of responding Th cells. Much is known of how DCs respond to, and influence immune response outcome to, bacterial and viral pathogens. However, relatively little is understood about how DCs respond to helminth parasites. This is an area of considerable interest since it impacts our understanding of the initiation of Th2 responses, which are stereotypically associated with helminth infections, and the regulation of allergic and autoimmune pathologies which evidence suggests are less severe or absent in individuals infected with helminths. This review attempts to summarize our understanding of the effects of helminth products on dendritic cell biology.