ABSTRACT

Co-infections of mammalian hosts with intestinal helminths and bacterial pathogens are common, especially in areas with inadequate sanitation. Interactions between co-infecting species and host microbiota can cause significant changes in host immunity, disease severity, and pathogen transmission, requiring unique treatment for each case. A greater understanding of the influences of parasite-bacteria co-infections will improve diagnosis and therapeutic approaches to control infectious diseases. To study the influence of the trematode parasite Echinostoma caproni on commensal and pathogenic bacteria in the mouse gut, we examined the abundance of intestinal lactic acid bacteria and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in control mice not exposed to E. caproni (P−) or S. Typhimurium (S−), E. caproni–infected (P+S−), S. Typhimurium-infected (P−S+), and E. caproni–S. Typhimurium co-infected (P+S+) mice, and determined bacterial burdens in the livers and spleens of the P−S+ and P+S+ mice. We also examined a subset of P+S− and P+S+ mice for survival and the relative location of E. caproni in the small intestine. The numbers of presumptive lactic acid bacteria were significantly higher in the P+S+ and P−S+ mice compared to the uninfected mice, and S. Typhimurium colonization in the liver and spleen was significantly reduced in the P+S+ mice compared to the P−S+ mice. Echinostoma caproni were located anteriorly in the intestine of P+S− mice, while in the P+S+ mice, the parasites were distributed more posteriorly. Survival of E. caproni was unaffected in either group. The results of our study suggest that E. caproni facilitates a higher abundance of presumptive lactic acid bacteria in the mouse intestine and reduces colonization of S. Typhimurium in the liver and spleen of the co-infected host.

You do not currently have access to this content.