Fasciola hepatica: The therapeutic potential of a worm secretome

Mark Robinson, John Dalton, Bronwyn O'Brien, Sheila Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
573 Downloads (Pure)


The success of helminth parasites is partly related to their ability to modulate host immune responses towards an anti-inflammatory/regulatory phenotype. This ability resides with the molecules contained in the secretome of various helminths that have been shown to interact with host immune cells and influence their function. Consequently, there exists a unique opportunity to exploit these molecules for the prophylactic and therapeutic treatment of human pro- and auto-inflammatory disorders (for example septic shock, transplant rejection and autoimmune disease). In this review, we describe the mechanisms used by the trematode parasite, Fasciola hepatica, to modulate the immune responses of its host and discuss the potent immune-modulatory effects of three individual molecules within the secretome; namely cathepsin L1, peroxiredoxin and helminth defence molecule. With a focus on the requirements from industry, we discuss the strategies by which these molecules may be clinically developed to control human immune responses in a way that is conducive to the prevention of immune-mediated diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283–291
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Bibliographical note

The work contributing to this review was supported by National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Grants APP1010197 and APP513111. J.P.D is supported by a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair and a grant from the National Science and Engineering Council (NSERC) Canada, and is a member of the European Union FP7-funded PARAVAC consortium.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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