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To keep or not to keep a hookworm

Researchers in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside have identified an immune protein in mice that is quickly triggered in the body following infection and serves to protect the body’s tissues. Called “RELMalpha,” this protein, whose homologue in humans is called “resistin,” is responsible more for protecting the body than attacking the parasite.

Hookworm
Immunofluorescent image shows cross-section of hookworm (red) invading the small intestine (blue) leading to recruitment of macrophages (green).
Credit: Jay Patel, Nair lab, UC Riverside.