Weight Loss After Infection Helps Oust WormsMain Category: GastroIntestinal / Gastroenterology
Also Included In: Obesity / Weight Loss / Fitness | Infectious Diseases / Bacteria / Viruses
Article Date: 19 Jan 2013
Weight loss plays a significant part in the body's response to fighting off intestinal worms.
The finding came from a team of experts from The University of Manchester and was published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.
Prior research demonstrated that tribendimidine treatment was safe and effective for intestinal worm infections.
The new results suggest that the natural feeding pathways that result in weight loss are taken over by the immune system. The defense mechanisms then drive down the proper pathway to get rid of the worms.
Almost 25% of people are affected by gastrointestinal parasites around the world. A reduction in appetite usually occurs with these common infections, causing the person to experience a loss in his/her weight.
However, scientists have little information on the factors responsible for these feeding changes and the reasons why they happen.
Therefore, experts from the Manchester Immunology Group and the Institute of Inflammation and Repair analyzed the immune response system in mice that did not have immune cells or feeding hormones and were infected with Trichinella spirals (a round worm parasite).
Through two distinct immune mediators, the mice's immune responses to the parasite were behind 2 periods of reduced feeding.
Surprisingly, cholecystokinin (a hormone) was being used by the immune system, which puts an end to feeding during daily meals to cause a decrease in fat deposits and weight.
Fat levels influence the amount of leptin (a hormone) which is produced - this impacts on the immune response.
The team restored the leptin levels in the mice when they were infected with the worm to see whether this decrease in leptin was helpful.
Results showed that the treated mice did not make the correct immune response to the parasite, which caused a delay in the expulsion of the worm.
Researcher Dr John Worthington from the Faculty of Life explained:
"We were quite surprised by what we found during this study. Normally weight loss is associated with a negative immune response but this appears to suggest just the opposite that the immune driven weight loss was actually beneficial to the mouse's ability to resolve an infection and get rid of the worm."
Dr Worthington said:
"Our study provides novel insights into how the immune system interacts with feeding pathways during intestinal inflammation. We hope it will help us to design new treatments for the many millions of people who suffer from parasitic infections of the gut."
"This may also have relevance to why other human diseases causing inflammation of the digestive system affect appetite and nutrition," added Professor McLaughlin.
At present, the laboratories are increasing their research to observe how other feeding hormones communicate with the immune system during various infectious diseases.
Written by Sarah Glynn
Copyright: MediLexicon International Ltd
Original article posted on Medical News Today.
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