Increasing evidence suggests that intestinal helminth infection can alter intestinal microbial communities with important impacts on the mammalian host. However, all of the studies to date utilize different techniques to study the microbiome and access different sites of the intestine with little consistency noted between studies. In the present study, we set out to perform a comprehensive analysis of the impact of intestinal helminth infection on the mammalian intestinal bacterial microbiome. For this purpose, we investigated the impact of experimental infection using the natural murine small intestinal helminth, Heligmosomoides polygyrus bakeri and examined possible alterations in both the mucous and luminal bacterial communities along the entire small and large intestine. We also explored the impact of common experimental variables including the parasite batch and pre-infection microbiome, on the outcome of helminth-bacterial interactions. This work provides evidence that helminth infection reproducibly alters intestinal microbial communities, with an impact of infection noted along the entire length of the intestine. Although the exact nature of helminth-induced alterations to the intestinal microbiome differed depending on the microbiome community structure present prior to infection, changes extended well beyond the introduction of new bacterial species by the infecting larvae. Moreover, striking similarities between different experiments were noted, including the consistent outgrowth of a bacterium belonging to the Peptostreptococcaceae family throughout the intestine.
- Heligmosomoides polygyrus bakeri
- Soil-transmitted helminths