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Experimental infection with the hookworm, Necator americanus, is associated with stable gut microbial diversity in human volunteers with relapsing multiple sclerosis.

Published version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

Change log

Authors

Jenkins, Timothy P 
Pritchard, David I 
Tanasescu, Radu 
Telford, Gary 
Papaiakovou, Marina 

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Helminth-associated changes in gut microbiota composition have been hypothesised to contribute to the immune-suppressive properties of parasitic worms. Multiple sclerosis is an immune-mediated autoimmune disease of the central nervous system whose pathophysiology has been linked to imbalances in gut microbial communities. RESULTS: In the present study, we investigated, for the first time, qualitative and quantitative changes in the faecal bacterial composition of human volunteers with remitting multiple sclerosis (RMS) prior to and following experimental infection with the human hookworm, Necator americanus (N+), and following anthelmintic treatment, and compared the findings with data obtained from a cohort of RMS patients subjected to placebo treatment (PBO). Bacterial 16S rRNA high-throughput sequencing data revealed significantly decreased alpha diversity in the faecal microbiota of PBO compared to N+ subjects over the course of the trial; additionally, we observed significant differences in the abundances of several bacterial taxa with putative immune-modulatory functions between study cohorts. Parabacteroides were significantly expanded in the faecal microbiota of N+ individuals for which no clinical and/or radiological relapses were recorded at the end of the trial. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our data lend support to the hypothesis of a contributory role of parasite-associated alterations in gut microbial composition to the immune-modulatory properties of hookworm parasites.

Description

Keywords

Bacterial diversity, Bacterial richness, Bacterial 16S rRNA sequencing, Helminth therapy, Hookworm, Parabacteroides, Relapse, Relapsing multiple sclerosis, Animals, Gastrointestinal Microbiome, Humans, Multiple Sclerosis, Necator americanus, RNA, Ribosomal, 16S, Recurrence

Journal Title

BMC Biol

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1741-7007
1741-7007

Volume Title

19

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Sponsorship
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (1643688)