Parasite allergens

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Abstract

Human IgE against helminths is a normal component of the whole protective response elicitesd during infection, when specific IgE to a great number of antigens is produced; however, few of those IgE binding components are actually allergens. In general, considering the strong Th2/IgE responses during helminth infections is intriguing that they are not usually associated with allergic symptoms, which probably (but not exclusively) depends on parasite-induced immunomodulation. However, allergic manifestations have been described during some helminth infections such as ascariasis, strongyloidiasis, anisakiasis and hydatidosis. In addition, there is evidence that helminthiases (e.g. ascariasis) can increase symptoms in allergic patients. Furthermore, allergic reactions during anti-helminth vaccination have been observed, a problem that also could be associated to the future use of parasite derived immunomodulators. Therefore, identification and characterization of helminth allergens is a matter of increasing research and a great number of IgE binding antigens have been found (www.allergen.org and www.allergome.org). Here we describe only a small group of them, for which allergenic activity (the ability to induce IgE mediated inflammation) have been clinical or experimentally demonstrated. Ascaris lumbricoides tropomyosin (Asc l 3) has strong allergenic activity; in the Tropics it has been associated with asthma and asthma severity, suggesting clinical relevance. In addition, due to its cross reactivity with mite tropomyosins this allergen could influence house dust mite (HDM) allergy diagnosis. Characterized Ascaris allergens also include the polyprotein As s 1 (ABA-1) and the Glutathione transferase As l 13. Other helminth allergens include Anisakis simplex Ani s 1, Ani s 4, Ani s 7 and Ani s 9; Necator americanus NaASP2q and Nacal1 and Schistosoma mansoni SmVAL4 and Sm22.6. Future work on helminth IgE binding antigens will help to understand several aspects of allergenicity and allergenic activity, among them the increasing finding of IgE binding molecules that not induce allergic symptoms.

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