ATIIMEM - I remember you :Lung epithelial cells memory in Hookworm infection

Helminths are large and complex organisms than infect about 1.5 billion people worldwide, mostly living in tropical countries. Due to their size they cause extensive damage to their host.  One of this most striking damage happens in the lungs during migration of parasites such as Hookworms or Ascaris. Short-term this results in pulmonary hemorrhage, while long-term pulmonary emphysema develops in mice, closely resembling COPD. Lung remodeling is associated with poor lung function and recently infection with a lung-migrating helminth parasite has been shown to increase the risk of asthma development. Despite recent evidences that helminth infections can impact pulmonary function long-term, there is currently no study characterizing the structural changes to the lung and addressing their potential consequence to health of the host. 

We will explore if prior exposure to lung-migrating helminths can train lung epithelial cells so that their response to a secondary helminth infection or other insult (allergen, chemical or pathogen) will be altered. This hypothesis may have important consequences for understanding allergic and degenerative lung diseases in both industrialized and impoverished settings.

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