Phosphocholine as an Immunomodulatory Compound of Nematodes pp. 115-142
Authors: (Julia Grabitzki, Günter Lochnit, Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Giessen, Germany)
Abstract: Phosphocholine (PC) as a small haptenic molecule present on antigens of different parasites including nematodes can provoke various effects on immune cells that can lead to immunomodulation of the host’s immune system. This immunomodulation which is characterized by a down-regulation of Th1-type immune responses and a predominance of
Th2-type reactions allows long-term persistence of the parasites within their hosts but also prevents severe pathology due to down-regulation of cellular immune responses. Additionally, PC has been shown to play important roles for development and fertility of the nematodes themselves. To fully understand the mechanisms of immunomodulation the detailed knowledge of the biosynthesis of the PC-epitopes, their molecular structure and biological function has to be elucidated. The implication of parasite-specific transferases in the biosynthesis of the PC-epitopes and the sensitivity of parasites towards disruption of the choline metabolism offer new perspectives for the development of anti-parasitic drugs and therapies. Furthermore, the immunomodulation provoked by PC-epitopes preventing
inflammatory reactions may be used in the treatment of inflammatory diseases. This chapter summarizes the current knowledge on the biosynthesis of PC-epitopes, their structures and immunological implications.