1. Unidad de Biomedicina, Facultad de Estudios Superiores-Iztacala, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
2. Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología, Distrito Federal, México.
Helminth parasites are a diverse group of multicellular organisms. Despite their heterogeneity, helminths share many common characteristics, such as the modulation of the immune system of their hosts towards a permissive state that favors their development. They induce strong Th2-like responses with high levels of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 cytokines, and decreased production of proinflammatory cytokines such as IFN-γ. IL-4, IFN-γ and other cytokines bind with their specific cytokine receptors to trigger an immediate signaling pathway in which different tyrosine kinases (e.g. Janus kinases) are involved. Furthermore, a seven-member family of transcription factors named Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription (STAT) that initiate the transcriptional activation of different genes are also involved and regulate downstream the JAK/STAT signaling pathway. However, how helminths avoid and modulate immune responses remains unclear; moreover, information concerning STAT-mediated immune regulation during helminth infections is scarce. Here, we review the research on mice deficient in STAT molecules, highlighting the importance of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway in regulating susceptibility and/or resistance in these infections.
Keywords: STAT, helminths, Taenia crassiceps, alternatively activated macrophages, filariasis, schistosomiasis.