Parasitic helminthes have developed complex mechanisms to evade or modulate hosts responses. Studies on cysticercosis are solid, but scarce. The most studied immunological models of cysticercosis are Taenia crassiceps infecting mice and T. solium infecting pigs. These parasites, despite being widely exposed to the host, are able to modulate the host immune system. Taenia metacestodes, much like other helminthes parasites, have developed complicated strategies in order to infect and successfully colonize their hosts. We focus here on the accumulated evidence from experimental models that have been helpful in analyzing and characterizing the host immune response to cysticercosis. Moreover, the mouse model has been used to design rationale vaccine strategies, some of them with promising results. We also discuss recent advances in understanding immune-regulation of cysticercosis. The parasite is able to manipulate the host immune system into supporting its survival by keeping a low inflammatory profile by causing the production of some cysticerci-released products that have immunomodulatory activities, as well as promoting the raise of alternatively activated macrophages. Finally, we delineate, according to recent literature, the likely pathway involved in protection and susceptibility against cysticercosis. As more aspects of the role of different immune and parasite-derived molecules are elucidated, better therapeutic targets may be identified to help treat cysticercosis.
Keywords: Proinflammatory cytokines, glucocorticoids, granuloma, alternatively activated macrophages, Taenia, immunomodulation
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