Understanding the role of antibodies in murine infections with Heligmosomoides (polygyrus) bakeri: 35 years ago, now and 35 years ahead

The rodent intestinal nematode H.p.bakeri has played an important role in the exploration of the host–parasite relationship of chronic nematode infections for over six decades, since the parasite was first isolated in the 1950s by Ehrenford. It soon became a popular laboratory model providing a tractable experimental system that is easy to maintain in the laboratory and far more cost-effective than other laboratory nematode–rodent model systems. Immunity to this parasite is complex, dependent on antibodies, but confounded by the parasite's potent immunosuppressive secretions that facilitate chronic survival in murine hosts. In this review, we remind readers of the state of knowledge in the 1970s, when the first volume of Parasite Immunology was published, focusing on the role of antibodies in protective immunity. We show how our understanding of the host–parasite relationship then developed over the following 35 years to date, we propose testable hypotheses for future researchers to tackle, and we speculate on how the new technologies will be applied to enable an increasingly refined understanding of the role of antibodies in host-protective immunity, and its evasion, to be achieved in the longer term.


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