Parasitic infections lead to the production of parasite-specific IgE, but they also lead to the activation of nonspecific, polyclonal B-cells and T-cells. How do parasites trigger non-specific activation?


I've found a great article that says:

Mitogens and superantigens have been described to explain the strategy used by microorganisms to avoid the host specifc immune responses and to ensure persistence. These moieties are responsible for the initiation of non- specifc (polyclonal) immune responses.

Mitogens are chemicals (usually proteins) that promote mitosis. Superantigens (sAg) form a subclass of antigens and are capable of inducing massive polyclonal T-cell activation and cytokine release (Cytokines crucial role in immune system mediation). Their ability to inflict massive T-cell activation comes from the fact that they bind directly to MHC-II without any pre-processing, and stimulate T-cell activation. Source: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/47g8w51m Also there are B-cell sAgs that stimulate B-cells, and their activation.

These altogether (mitogens cytokines, sAgs) result in rapid expansion of B-cells and T-cells.

Also this paper might help to understand why parasites trigger polyclonal T and B-cell activation. Namely to avoid host specific immune system, dilute the pathogen specific anti-bodies. It is important to note that chronic infections could lead to several auto-immune diseases.

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe we should attack the superantigens if they are so strong virulence factors, instead of developing antibiotics, which don't work. $\endgroup$ – inf3rno Apr 13 '15 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ Yepp, there is some research in the topic: mdpi.com/2072-6651/6/6/1724/htm informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1517/14728222.2012.682573 Btw. afaik. superantigens are a subgroup of mitogens. $\endgroup$ – inf3rno Apr 13 '15 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ @inf3rno - Well mitogen is a broad term, so I guess you can view it as such. $\endgroup$ – Nandor Poka Apr 13 '15 at 22:40

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