Homework Help

How does the human immune system react to tapeworms?

user profile pic

eejjeejj | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:58 PM via web

dislike 1 like

How does the human immune system react to tapeworms?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 6, 2012 at 10:07 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

This is a great question, and the answer may surprise you. The hygiene hypothesis postulates that exposure to multicellular parasites like tapeworms is actually a necessary step in the development of the human immune system. The idea is that, as a child's immune system develops B and T lymphocytes, those lymphocytes go into action creating antibodies; if there are no parasites or pathogens present to create antibodies against, the immune system may create antibodies against self tissue. This can lead to allergies or autoimmune diseases such as type I diabetes, asthma, and lupus. Researchers have found a strong negative correlation between parasite infestation and autoimmune diseases, which supports the hygiene hypothesis.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes