Louse infestation can dampen immune systemApril 22nd, 2009 - 2:26 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Apr 22 (ANI): A new study from University of Nottingham has revealed that louse infestation can dampen mammalian immune reactions.
In the study conducted on wild wood mice, Janette Bradley and her colleagues have found that body louse reduced the readiness of the innate system to mount an immune response.
“Our understanding of mammalian immunology is largely based on rodents reared under highly unnatural pathogen- and stress-free conditions,” said Bradley.
“Analysing immune responses in wild populations can give crucial insights into how the immune system functions in its natural context,” she added.
During the study, the authors conducted post-mortem on the captured mice, assessing their weight, parasite load, and the responsiveness of their spleen cells to substances such as heat-killed listeria and bacteria, which bind receptors of the innate immune system and provoke a measurable reaction.
They found that those mice uninfected with the louse Polyplax serrata showed markedly increased responses to these triggers of innate immune responses, compared to highly-infected animals.
This suggests that the parasite is able to exert some kind of immunosuppressive effect, possibly directly by secreting some substance into the mice from its saliva, or indirectly by transmitting bacteria or other pathogens.
The authors speculate that this profound dampening of innate immune responsiveness supports the view that modern parasite-free human populations have a level of heightened immune responsiveness that would not have been typical during their recent evolutionary history,
“Much like laboratory mice, people in developed countries are currently exposed to a very different profile of infections to that encountered by their ancestors.
“It is possible that the immune dysfunctions we see today are the result of immune systems calibrated for a set of challenges completely different to those they now routinely face,” she added.
The study adds to evidence supporting the so-called hygiene hypothesis, which holds that the rise in asthma and allergies can be linked to hyper-clean living.
The study appears in the BioMed Central journal BMC Biology. (ANI)
- Freedom from lice may have paved way for modern allergies - Apr 22, 2009
- Lice can be nice too, for our immune system - Apr 25, 2009
- Our immune system has back-up to fight infection - Dec 28, 2010
- Prebiotic helps lower colon cancer risk: study - May 04, 2012
- Stress hampers intestinal bacteria making immune system inactive - Apr 12, 2011
- Skin bugs protects body from infection - Jul 29, 2012
- Friendly gut bacteria can help fight infection - Aug 20, 2009
- How pathogenic bacteria hide inside host cells - Jan 27, 2011
- New approach to study potentially deadly disease-causing bacteria - Dec 24, 2010
- Soon, nasal spray vaccines to curb flu - Apr 12, 2011
- Discovery could lead to 'next-gen' vaccines - Apr 08, 2012
- 'Immune evasion' uncommon in M. tuberculosis - May 24, 2010
- Re-engineering mosquito's immunity to block malaria - Dec 29, 2011
- 'Space mice' may pave way to help keep humans fit in space - Oct 30, 2010
- Friendly bacteria help fend off flu: Study - Mar 15, 2011
Tags: evolutionary history, human populations, immune reactions, immune response, immune responses, immune responsiveness, immune system functions, immune systems, innate immune system, laboratory mice, listeria, louse, natural context, parasite load, pathogen, post mortem, spleen cells, university of nottingham, wild wood, wood mice