74 research outputs found

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend: immune-mediated facilitation contributes to fitness of co-infecting helminths

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    The conceptual understanding of immune-mediated interactions between parasites is rooted in the theory of community ecology. One of the limitations of this approach is that most of the theory and empirical evidence has focused on resource or immune-mediated competition between parasites and yet there is ample evidence of positive interactions that could be generated by immune-mediated facilitation. We developed an immuno-epidemiological model and applied it to longitudinal data of two gastrointestinal helminths in two rabbit populations to investigate, through model testing, how immune-mediated mechanisms of parasite regulation could explain the higher intensities of both helminths in rabbits with dual than single infections. The model framework was selected and calibrated on rabbit population A and then validated on the nearby rabbit population B to confirm the consistency of the findings and the generality of the mechanisms. Simulations suggested that the higher intensities in rabbits with dual infections could be explained by a weakened or low species-specific IgA response and an asymmetrical IgA cross-reaction. Simulations also indicated that rabbits with dual infections shed more free-living stages that survived for longer in the environment, implying greater transmission than stages from hosts with single infections. Temperature and humidity selectively affected the free-living stages of the two helminths. These patterns were comparable in the two rabbit populations and support the hypothesis that immune-mediated facilitation can contribute to greater parasite fitness and local persistence

    Within-host mechanisms of immune regulation explain the contrasting dynamics of two helminth species in both single and dual infections.

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    Variation in the intensity and duration of infections is often driven by variation in the network and strength of host immune responses. While many of the immune mechanisms and components are known for parasitic helminths, how these relationships change from single to multiple infections and impact helminth dynamics remains largely unclear. Here, we used laboratory data from a rabbit-helminth system and developed a within-host model of infection to investigate different scenarios of immune regulation in rabbits infected with one or two helminth species. Model selection suggests that the immunological pathways activated against Trichostrongylus retortaeformis and Graphidium strigosum are similar. However, differences in the strength of these immune signals lead to the contrasting dynamics of infections, where the first parasite is rapidly cleared and the latter persists with high intensities. In addition to the reactions identified in single infections, rabbits with both helminths also activate new pathways that asymmetrically affect the dynamics of the two species. These new signals alter the intensities but not the general trend of the infections. The type of interactions described can be expected in many other host-helminth systems. Our immune framework is flexible enough to capture different mechanisms and their complexity, and provides essential insights to the understanding of multi-helminth infections

    Snapshot of spatio-temporal cytokine responses to single and co-infections with helminths and bacteria

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    a b s t r a c t Cytokines play a key role in maintaining communication between organs and in so doing modulate the interaction between concurrent infections. The extent of these effects depends on the properties of the organ infected and the intensity and type of infections. To determine systemic bystander effects among organs, IFN-g, IL-4 and IL-10 gene expression was quantified at 7 days post-challenge in directly infected and uninfected organs during single and co-infections with the respiratory bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica and the gastrointestinal helminths Graphidium strigosum and Trichostrongylus retortaeformis. Results showed that cytokine expression in a specific organ was influenced by the type of infection occurring in another organ, and this bystander effect was more apparent in some organs than others. Within the same organ the relative cytokine expression was consistent across infections, although some cytokines were more affected by bystander effects than others. For the infected gastrointestinal tract, a stronger cytokine response was observed in the tissue that harbored the majority of helminths (i.e. duodenum and fundus). Overall, co-infections altered the intensity but to a lesser extent the relative cytokine profile against the focal infection, indicating clear bystander effects and low organ compartmentalization. However, organs appear to actively modulate cytokine expression to avoid potential immuno-pathological consequences

    Peste des petits ruminants virus transmission scaling and husbandry practices that contribute to increased transmission risk: an investigation among sheep, goats, and cattle in Northern Tanzania

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    Peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) causes an infectious disease of high morbidity and mortality among sheep and goats which impacts millions of livestock keepers globally. PPRV transmission risk varies by production system, but a deeper understanding of how transmission scales in these systems and which husbandry practices impact risk is needed. To investigate transmission scaling and husbandry practice-associated risk, this study combined 395 household questionnaires with over 7115 cross-sectional serosurvey samples collected in Tanzania among agropastoral and pastoral households managing sheep, goats, or cattle (most managed all three, n = 284, 71.9%). Although self-reported compound-level herd size was significantly larger in pastoral than agropastoral households, the data show no evidence that household herd force of infection (FOI, per capita infection rate of susceptible hosts) increased with herd size. Seroprevalence and FOI patterns observed at the sub-village level showed significant spatial variation in FOI. Univariate analyses showed that household herd FOI was significantly higher when households reported seasonal grazing camp attendance, cattle or goat introduction to the compound, death, sale, or giving away of animals in the past 12 months, when cattle were grazed separately from sheep and goats, and when the household also managed dogs or donkeys. Multivariable analyses revealed that species, production system type, and goat or sheep introduction or seasonal grazing camp attendance, cattle or goat death or sales, or goats given away in the past 12 months significantly increased odds of seroconversion, whereas managing pigs or cattle attending seasonal grazing camps had significantly lower odds of seroconversion. Further research should investigate specific husbandry practices across production systems in other countries and in systems that include additional atypical host species to broaden understanding of PPRV transmission

    Changes in parasite traits, rather than intensity, affect the dynamics of infection under external perturbation

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    <div><p>Understanding the mechanisms that generate complex host-parasite interactions, and how they contribute to variation between and within hosts, is important for predicting risk of infection and transmission, and for developing more effective interventions based on parasite properties. We used the <i>T. retortaeformis</i> (TR)-rabbit system and developed a state-space mathematical framework to capture the variation in intensity of infection and egg shedding in hosts infected weekly, then treated with an anthelminthic and subsequently re-challenged following the same infection regime. Experimental infections indicate that parasite intensity accumulates more slowly in the post-anthelminthic phase but reaches similar maximum numbers. By contrast, parasite EPG (eggs per gram of feces) shed from rabbits in the post-treatment phase is lower and less variable through time. Inference based on EPG alone suggests a decline in parasite intensity over time. Using a state-space model and incorporating all sources of cross-sectional and longitudinal data, we show that while parasite intensity remains relatively constant in both experimental phases, shedding of eggs into the environment is increasingly limited through changes in parasite growth. We suggest that host immunity directly modulates both the accumulation and the growth of the parasite, and indirectly affects transmission by limiting parasite length and thus fecundity. This study provides a better understanding of how within-host trophic interactions influence different components of a helminth population. It also suggests that heterogeneity in parasite traits should be addressed more carefully when examining and managing helminth infections in the absence of some critical data on parasite dynamics.</p></div

    Patterns of tsetse abundance and trypanosome infection rates among habitats of surveyed villages in Maasai steppe of northern Tanzania

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    Abstract Background Changes of land cover modify the characteristics of habitat, host-vector interaction and consequently infection rates of disease causing agents. In this paper, we report variations in tsetse distribution patterns, abundance and infection rates in relation to habitat types and age in the Maasai Steppe of northern Tanzania. In Africa, Tsetse-transmitted trypanosomiasis negatively impacted human life where about 40 million people are at risk of contracting the disease with dramatic socio-economical consequences, for instance, loss of livestock, animal productivity, and manpower. Methods We trapped tsetse flies in dry and wet seasons between October 2014 and May 2015 in selected habitats across four villages: Emboreet, Loiborsireet, Kimotorok and Oltukai adjacent to protected areas. Data collected include number and species of tsetse flies caught in baited traps, PCR identification of trypanosome species and extraction of monitored Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS). Results Our findings demonstrate the variation of tsetse fly species abundance and infection rates among habitats in surveyed villages in relation to NDVI and host abundance. Results have shown higher tsetse fly abundance in Acacia-swampy ecotone and riverine habitats for Emboreet and other villages, respectively. Tsetse abundance was inconsistent among habitats in different villages. Emboreet was highly infested with Glossina swynnertoni (68%) in ecotone and swampy habitats followed by G. morsitans (28%) and G. pallidipes (4%) in riverine habitat. In the remaining villages, the dominant tsetse fly species by 95% was G. pallidipes in all habitats. Trypanosoma vivax was the most prevalent species in all infected flies (95%) with few observations of co-infections (with T. congolense or T. brucei). Conclusions The findings of this study provide a framework to mapping hotspots of tsetse infestation and trypanosomiasis infection and enhance the communities to plan for effective control of trypanosomiasis

    Genomic and phenotypic characterization of myxoma virus from Great Britain reveals multiple evolutionary pathways distinct from those in Australia

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    <div><p>The co-evolution of myxoma virus (MYXV) and the European rabbit occurred independently in Australia and Europe from different progenitor viruses. Although this is the canonical study of the evolution of virulence, whether the genomic and phenotypic outcomes of MYXV evolution in Europe mirror those observed in Australia is unknown. We addressed this question using viruses isolated in the United Kingdom early in the MYXV epizootic (1954–1955) and between 2008–2013. The later UK viruses fell into three distinct lineages indicative of a long period of separation and independent evolution. Although rates of evolutionary change were almost identical to those previously described for MYXV in Australia and strongly clock-like, genome evolution in the UK and Australia showed little convergence. The phenotypes of eight UK viruses from three lineages were characterized in laboratory rabbits and compared to the progenitor (release) Lausanne strain. Inferred virulence ranged from highly virulent (grade 1) to highly attenuated (grade 5). Two broad disease types were seen: cutaneous nodular myxomatosis characterized by multiple raised secondary cutaneous lesions, or an amyxomatous phenotype with few or no secondary lesions. A novel clinical outcome was acute death with pulmonary oedema and haemorrhage, often associated with bacteria in many tissues but an absence of inflammatory cells. Notably, reading frame disruptions in genes defined as essential for virulence in the progenitor Lausanne strain were compatible with the acquisition of high virulence. Combined, these data support a model of ongoing host-pathogen co-evolution in which multiple genetic pathways can produce successful outcomes in the field that involve both different virulence grades and disease phenotypes, with alterations in tissue tropism and disease mechanisms.</p></div

    Data from: Impact of helminth infections and nutritional constraints on the small intestine microbiota

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    Helminth infections and nutrition can independently alter the composition and abundance of the gastrointestinal microbiota, however, their combined effect is poorly understood. Here, we used the T. retortaeformis-rabbit system to examine how the helminth infection and host restriction from coprophagy/ready-to-absorb nutrients affected the duodenal microbiota, and how these changes related to the acquired immune response at the site of infection. A factorial experiment was performed where the bacterial community, its functionality and the immune response were examined in four treatments (Infect, Infect+Collar, Control+Collar and Control). Helminths reduced the diversity and abundance of the microbiota while the combination of parasites and coprophagic restriction led to a more diversified and abundant microbiota than infected cases, without significantly affecting the intensity of infection. Animals restricted from coprophagy and free from parasites exhibited the richest and most abundant bacterial community. By forcing the individuals to absorb nutrients from less digested food, the coprophagic restriction appears to have facilitated the diversity and proliferation of bacteria in the duodenum. Changes in the microbiota were more clearly associated with changes in the immune response for the infected than the nutrient restricted animals. The functional and metabolic characteristics of the duodenal microbiota were not significantly different between treatments. Overall, infection and diet affect the gut microbiota but their interactions and outcome can be complex. These findings can have important implications for the development of control measures to helminth infections where poor nutrition/malnutrition can also be a concern

    Impact of Helminth Infections and Nutritional Constraints on the Small Intestine Microbiota

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    <div><p>Helminth infections and nutrition can independently alter the composition and abundance of the gastrointestinal microbiota, however, their combined effect is poorly understood. Here, we used the <i>T</i>. <i>retortaeformis</i>-rabbit system to examine how the helminth infection and host restriction from coprophagy/ready-to-absorb nutrients affected the duodenal microbiota, and how these changes related to the acquired immune response at the site of infection. A factorial experiment was performed where the bacterial community, its functionality and the immune response were examined in four treatments (Infect, Infect+Collar, Control+Collar and Control). Helminths reduced the diversity and abundance of the microbiota while the combination of parasites and coprophagic restriction led to a more diversified and abundant microbiota than infected cases, without significantly affecting the intensity of infection. Animals restricted from coprophagy and free from parasites exhibited the richest and most abundant bacterial community. By forcing the individuals to absorb nutrients from less digested food, the coprophagic restriction appears to have facilitated the diversity and proliferation of bacteria in the duodenum. Changes in the microbiota were more clearly associated with changes in the immune response for the infected than the nutrient restricted animals. The functional and metabolic characteristics of the duodenal microbiota were not significantly different between treatments. Overall, infection and diet affect the gut microbiota but their interactions and outcome can be complex. These findings can have important implications for the development of control measures to helminth infections where poor nutrition/malnutrition can also be a concern.</p></div

    Comparative analysis of the complete genome sequence of the California MSW strain of myxoma virus reveals potential host adaptations

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    Myxomatosis is a rapidly lethal disease of European rabbits that is caused by myxoma virus (MYXV). The introduction of a South American strain of MYXV into the European rabbit population of Australia is the classic case of host-pathogen coevolution following cross-species transmission. The most virulent strains of MYXV for European rabbits are the Californian viruses, found in the Pacific states of the United States and the Baja Peninsula, Mexico. The natural host of Californian MYXV is the brush rabbit, Sylvilagus bachmani. We determined the complete sequence of the MSW strain of Californian MYXV and performed a comparative analysis with other MYXV genomes. The MSW genome is larger than that of the South American Lausanne (type) strain of MYXV due to an expansion of the terminal inverted repeats (TIRs) of the genome, with duplication of the M156R, M154L, M153R, M152R, and M151R genes and part of the M150R gene from the right-hand (RH) end of the genome at the left-hand (LH) TIR. Despite the extreme virulence of MSW, no novel genes were identified; five genes were disrupted by multiple indels or mutations to the ATG start codon, including two genes, M008.1L/R and M152R, with major virulence functions in European rabbits, and a sixth gene, M000.5L/R, was absent. The loss of these gene functions suggests that S. bachmani is a relatively recent host for MYXV and that duplication of virulence genes in the TIRs, gene loss, or sequence variation in other genes can compensate for the loss of M008.1L/R and M152R in infections of European rabbits.This work was funded in part by grant R01 AI093804 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. E.C.H. was supported by an NHMRC Australia Fellowship, and D.C.T. was supported by an ARC Future Fellowship
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