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Immunologic Profiles of Persons Recruited for a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Hookworm Infection

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  • 1 Immune Modulation Research Group, Division of Molecular and Cellular Science, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom; Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, City Hospital, Nottingham, United Kingdom
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Data from epidemiologic studies suggest that hookworm infections, in establishing an immunologic phenotype conducive to parasite survival, may protect against the development of allergic disease. We describe immunologic findings from a clinical study designed to investigate the safety of iatrogenic hookworm infection in participants with allergic rhinitis. The low, relatively safe level of hookworm infection used in this study was immunogenic, inducing eosinophilia and a significant specific IgG response. Importantly, no potentiation of IgE responses to the environmental allergens to which the participants were sensitized was seen. However, no evidence of systemic immune regulation was seen in infected participants. This finding may indicate that the level of infection or the frequency of infection may have to be altered in future trials to induce a therapeutically conducive immunologic phenotype.

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