Researchers from the University of Maryland (USA) showed in a mouse model that a type of parasitic intestinal worms – roundworms or nematodes – helps reduce weight and has a therapeutic effect on obesity-related metabolic disorders in a host organism.
As previously noted by experts, there is a correlation between the decrease in the level of infection in the population of developed countries and the increasing prevalence of nematodes autoimmune diseases. It is believed that this effect is associated with the ability to reduce the activity of roundworms host immune system, inducing the release of anti-inflammatory Th2-cytokine which ensures survival of parasites themselves. Currently, clinical studies are nematodes therapy of various autoimmune and allergic diseases, including Crohn’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple sclerosis, but their results are not yet known.
With obesity has been shown in previous studies, as is excessive activation of the immune system associated with a chronic inflammatory response in the adipose tissue, accompanied by the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, leading to disruption of metabolic processes. Due to all these facts, the authors of the study, examining the effect of helminths in obesity, conducted their experiments on mice maintained on the high-calorie diet. As a result, mice that initially had a normal weight, after infection with a type of nematode Nippostrongyrus brasiliensis ten days lost weight by 15 percent. Mice that have suffered from obesity after infection lost 13 percent of body weight. Furthermore, these animals that showed fatty liver (gepatosteatoz) decreased by 25 percent the amount of adipose tissue in the liver.
Thus in both groups of mice showed a significant improvement due to changes in glucose metabolism, the metabolic profile of hormones, insulin and leptin. The levels of both hormones decreased, which, as noted by the authors, said the restoration of impaired due to obesity sensitivity to them. mechanism behind the beneficial influence of nematodes on the metabolic rate, according to the researchers, is associated with an increase in their emissions due to induced interleukin 13 population alternatively activated macrophages – cells of the immune system that contribute to suppression of inflammatory reactions. This leads to lower levels of glucose absorption in the gut, liver triglyceride levels and normalization of other substances involved in the exchange process, as well as the authors note, confirms the hypothesis that immune shifts in the body for obesity and metabolic syndrome. It should be noted that in some countries, particularly in China, common use of a single species infection roundworms, Ascaris, to reduce weight. It is assumed that the weight loss is due to the absorption of nutrients in the nematode gut. Meanwhile, in February 2010, the Department of Health of Hong Kong dieters warned of the dangers of this method – ascariasis may be complicated by lung disease, inflammation of the intestine, obstruction of the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts, and can also cause intestinal obstruction.