Parasite regulation by host hormones: an old mechanism of host exploitation?

G Escobedo, C W Roberts, J C Carrero, J Morales-Montor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)


Recent experimental evidence suggests that parasites can not only evade immune responses actively but also exploit the hormonal microenvironment within the host to favor their establishment, growth and reproduction. The benefit for parasites of hormonal exploitation is so great that they have evolved structures similar to the steroid and protein hormone receptors expressed in upper vertebrates that can bind to the hormonal metabolites synthesized by the host. This strategy is exemplified by two parasites that respond to adrenal steroids and sexual steroids, respectively: Schistosoma mansoni and Taenia crassiceps. Understanding how the host endocrine system can, under certain circumstances, favor the establishment of a parasite, and characterizing the parasite hormone receptors that are involved might aid the design of hormonal analogs and drugs that affect the parasite exclusively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-593
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Parasitology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • taenia crassiceps cysticercosis
  • pituitary adrenal axis
  • schistosoma mansoni
  • onchocerca-volvulus
  • growth factor
  • in vitro
  • plasmodium-falciparum
  • reproductive system
  • filarial parasites


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