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Keywords:

  • chronic infection;
  • gastrointestinal nematode;
  • immunomodulation

SUMMARY

Gastrointestinal (GI) nematodes are incredibly successful parasites. Choosing to live in an exposed extracellular niche, in confrontation with a potentially hostile environment, their persistent, chronic lifestyle is persuasive evidence in itself for their profound ability to modulate their hosts’ immune response. Modulation is essential to avoid their own destruction but also subtly balanced to avoid compromising host survival. This review describes the early circumstantial evidence that gave clues to the immunomodulatory capabilities of the GI nematodes, the roles that T regulatory cells and alternatively activated macrophages play in this immunomodulation and provides examples of the types of specific parasite-derived factors that are known to modulate host immunity, potentiating parasite survival.