Understanding human and parasite interactions

Whipworms are soil-transmitted parasitic worms that infect about 700 million people in the tropics and sub-tropics. An EU-funded project worked to better understand its interactions with human epithelial and immune cells, in the hope of identifying new treatment possibilities and alleviating suffering.

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 23 May 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Health & life sciencesGenomics  |  Medical research  |  Public health
Innovation
Research policyHorizon 2020
SMEs
Countries involved in the project described in the article
United Kingdom
Add to PDF "basket"

Understanding human and parasite interactions

image

© sinhyu #142608343, 2019 source: stock.adobe.com

Whipworms are parasitic roundworms that live preferentially in the human cecum, the blind pouch at the beginning of the large intestine. They tunnel through epithelial cells and cause inflammation, potentially resulting in trichuriasis, an infection similar to colitis.

Despite extensive research, the role of whipworm interactions with host epithelial and immune cells in triggering parasite expulsion remains unclear. This has hindered the development of anti-parasite therapies.

The goal of the EU-funded GUTWORM project was to investigate and understand the interaction between whipworms and host cells. To achieve this, project researchers used T. muris, a mouse model, to replicate whipworm infection in humans.

The GUTWORM project had various aims. First, the team set out to identify new parasite and host genes that could interplay and modulate immunological outcomes.

It also characterised the role of host genes in whipworm infection and immunity. Here, novel and known candidate genetic mutations conferring susceptibility to colitis were targeted. GUTWORM researchers tested mice with particular mutations to evaluate the influence of these on anti-parasite immunity and expulsion.

Finally, after identifying key genes regulating the immune response to whipworms, the team explored the precise mechanisms of these genes to help them understand their effect on the parasite.

The GUTWORM project has generated a wealth of fundamental data on host-whipworm interactions. Ultimately, this will provide tools for future efforts to control these parasites, identifying potential new therapeutic targets for diseases that cause suffering in people living in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

The resulting knowledge of the parasite-immunological interplay could also help scientists understand other intestinal inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis.

Project details

  • Project acronym: GUTWORM
  • Participants: United Kingdom (Coordinator)
  • Project N°: 656347
  • Total costs: € 183 455
  • EU contribution: € 183 455
  • Duration: October 2015 to November 2017

See also

 

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also
Project website
Project details