Anisakiasis is a zoonosis due to infection with the nematode Anisakis (A.)
simplex. Humans represent an accidental host after ingesting raw fish infected with A.
A. simplex larvae lead to a robust host immune response mostly at gastro-intestinal
level and, usually, T helper (h)2 lymphocytes play a protective against this nematode.
However, larvae can elude immunity triggering activation of T regulatory (Treg)
cells, which, in turn, suppress Th2 responses via production of interleukin (IL)-10.
According to our own experience in the area of Bari (south Italy) where anisakiasis is
endemic, chronic urticaria (CU) is very often associated to A. simplex infection. The
cytokine profile in CU patients with Anisakis infection is characterized by an elevated release of
interferon-γ and IL-17, while IL-10 production is very low. This pattern of pro-inflammatory cytokine
response was consistently detectable in patients who underwent a raw fish free diet regimen over a period
of six months. In the light of the above considerations, we hypothesize that treating these patients with
polyphenols it may be beneficial in terms of activation of Treg cell function. In fact, polyphenols have
the capacity to expand Treg cell response in vitro.
In this regard, activation of human Treg cells, by analogy to other helminthiasis, may lead to a reduction
of allergic/inflammatory reaction in the course of human anisakiasis.