Unique characteristics of local responses in host resistance to mucosal parasitic infections
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Because of the tremendous impact that parasitic infections have on the health and productivity of humans and domestic animals, considerable research effort has been focused upon understanding the mechanisms of host-parasite coexistence, host resistance and immunopathology. Studies have employed a range of approaches including: kinetic analysis of parasite establishment, development, fecundity and survival in naive and previously-infected hosts; correlation between parasite survival and histopathologic responses at the site of infection; vaccination with attenuated parasites or their products; cellular and serum transfer of immunity to naive or immunocompromised hosts; pharmacologic manipulation of potential mediators of host defense using agonistic and antagonistic drugs. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that to understand the mechanisms associated with host resistance and parasite survival, one must define the characteristics of the local microenvironment at the host-parasite interface. One of the approaches by which such studies can be made involves the isolation and characterization of cells derived from the local infection site. This manuscript reviews some of these studies on local aspects of mucosal immune responses in parasitic infections. Examples that will be discussed include IgA antibody, intraepithelial leukocytes from the intestine, intestinal mast cell populations, macrophages derived from bronchoalveolar lavage, and local immunoregulatory responses during respiratory and intestinal parasitic infection. These studies have established unequivocally that local responses to mucosal parasitic infection can only be appropriately investigated using cells derived from the specific microenvironment. This conclusion should encourage others to further study these local responses and to be innovative in investigating unexplored aspects of the host-parasite interface.
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