The concept that parasites modulate the immune system ensures that there is great interest in establishing the nature of the parasite molecules involved. Such interest indeed predates the awareness of parasites polarizing rather than suppressing the immune system, but although some 'immunosuppressive substances' were identified in earlier years [e.g. (6)], in general characterization was poor at the molecular level. Boosted by the recent advances in protein purification, molecular cloning and genome sequencing, the situation is now very different. Thus, the identities of literally scores of parasite molecules that have either been shown to, or are likely to, play a role in modulation of the immune response are now known [e.g. (7)]. Furthermore, whereas in the past the activity of parasite products was assessed only by their effect on immune responses measurable at that time, such as lymphocyte proliferation or antibody production, it is now possible to investigate immunomodulation with respect to the disciplines of biochemistry and molecular biology. Hence, for example, we can define the receptor that parasite products interact with, the signal transduction pathways that are then activated, and the effects on gene transcription that then ensue. Put together, in simple terms it is now possible to establish what molecules a parasite employs to modulate the immune response, how they work and what the consequences are.
CureOrBust wrote:This "VSG" causing "tolerance" within our immune system is a new concept for me, and interesting at that. Does anyone know of any studies using a drug/chemical which works using the same modality? If not, I think its a line worth some reasercher following. hello? are any reading?
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