Negative density-dependent effects on the fitness of parasite populations are an important force in their population dynamics. For the parasitic nematode Strongyloides ratti, density-dependent fitness effects require the rat host immune response. By analysis of both measurements of components of parasite fitness and of the host immune response to different doses of S. ratti infection, we have identified specific parts of the host immune response underlying the negative density-dependent effects on the fitness of S. ratti. The host immune response changes both qualitatively from an inflammatory Th1- to a Th2-type immune profile and the Th2-type response increases quantitatively, as the density of S. ratti infection increases. Parasite survivorship was significantly negatively related to the concentration of parasite-specific IgG1 and IgA, whereas parasite fecundity was significantly negatively related to the concentration of IgA only
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