Through centuries of evolution, the human body and its encircling environments have adapted to boost health insurance and promote longevity. For instance, the increasing focus on hygiene provides been effective in combating parasites that cause disease.
These changes have already been critical, as evidenced by the greater lifestyle expectancies and lower disease costs in certain parts of the world. On the other hand, these benefits come with trade-offs.
Parasites and humans show an extended history of coexistence. It is likely that the individual immune function developed with regards to parasitic mechanisms.
The “old friends” hypothesis states these parasites were like old friends of the human body that helped improve tolerance and function and that their decline resulted in an increased prevalence of allergic responses and autoimmune conditions.
This decline could also promote inflammaging, which is a chronic kind of inflammation that worsens with progressing age. Inflammaging plays a part in several age-related circumstances, such as dementia, tumor, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.
One recent study demonstrates inflammaging might exacerbate symptoms of COVID-19, aswell.
Bruce Zhang and Dr. David Gems, from the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College London in the United Kingdom, conducted a review of the prevailing literature to explore the use of parasite worms as a remedy to reverse conditions linked to inflammaging. This review content shows up in the journal eLife.
The authors focused their research on a specific band of parasitic worms called helminths, which include roundworms, tapeworms, and flukes. These parasites live inside host organisms, such as human being bodies, and take benefit of their immune responses so that you can survive.
These findings also provide a glimpse into the intricacies of the individual body’s immune functions.
Pre-aging inflammatory conditions
Researchers associate the decline of helminths with multiple inflammatory circumstances that occur earlier in life. Included in these are asthma, eczema, multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis rheumatoid, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes.
Current evidence supports the theory that both pure and deliberate infection with helminths can combat these inflammatory conditions.
In fact, in 1976, researcher J. A. Turton posted a report where he explained that his hookworm infections reduced the severe nature of his allergies.
A more recent analysis - which Marc Charabati, of the University of Montreal in Canada, led - showed that infecting mice with helminths eased their MS symptoms.
Although these findings advise that restorative helminth remedy may address pre-aging inflammatory conditions, the question of if it could prevent conditions that occur in older age remains.
An integral characteristic of inflammaging is a consistent upsurge in pro-inflammatory proteins in the blood. Multiple experiments have shown that helminth an infection can suppress degrees of these pro-inflammatory proteins.
On the other hand, administering anthelmintic treatments - that may kill helminths - increased the inflammatory response of the proteins.
Although the direct administration of helminths can be beneficial, additionally, it may cause undesired infections. A practical alternative is to employ the molecular parts of helminth mechanisms.
One experiment, which Jenny Crowe and others at the University of Glasgow on the U.K. carried out, incorporated this idea in a mouse version that ate a high calorie diet. Specifically, the team administered a protein referred to as ES-62, which is an anti-inflammatory molecule produced from roundworm secretion.
They found that ES-62 prevented both degradation of the gut barrier and the enlargement of fat cells, which are mechanisms that donate to inflammaging.
The mice also showed a 12% increase in their median lifespan. This shows that ES-62 could suppress inflammaging and limit health-related age acceleration.
Similar analyses have indicated the potency of helminths and helminth-secreted products on protecting against arthritis rheumatoid, atherosclerosis, and type 2 diabetes.
There is also some proof that points to helminth therapy in cancer resistance. A few studies in mice have displayed that tapeworms avoided the forming of colon tumors.
However, it is necessary to note that certain helminths could cause cancer, as very well. For instance, the trematode parasite Schistosoma haematobium could cause bladder cancer.
Although these studies usually do not concur that helminths can directly reduce inflammaging, they do show the ability of helminths to safeguard against the processes that in the end lead to it.