Supplemented nutrition decreases helminth burden and increases drug efficacy in a natural host-helminth system

Sweeny, A. R., Clerc, M., Pontifes, P. A., Venkatesan, S., Babayan, S. A. and Pederson, A. B. (2021) Supplemented nutrition decreases helminth burden and increases drug efficacy in a natural host-helminth system. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 288(1943), 20202722. (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2020.2722) (PMID:33468010)

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Abstract

Gastrointestinal helminths are common parasites of humans, wildlife, and livestock, causing chronic infections. In humans and wildlife, poor nutrition or limited resources can compromise individuals’ immune response, predisposing them to higher helminth burdens. This relationship has been tested in laboratory models by investigating infection outcomes following reductions of specific nutrients. However, much less is known about how diet supplementation can impact susceptibility to infection, acquisition of immunity, and drug efficacy in natural host-helminth systems. We experimentally supplemented the diet of wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus) with high quality nutrition and measured resistance to the common gastrointestinal nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus. To test whether diet can enhance immunity to reinfection, we also administered anthelmintic treatment at random in both natural and captive populations. Supplemented wood mice were more resistant to H. polygyrus infection, cleared worms more efficiently after treatment, avoided a post-treatment infection rebound, produced stronger general and parasite-specific antibody responses, and maintained better body condition. In addition, when applied in conjunction with anthelmintic treatment, supplemented nutrition significantly reduced H. polygyrus transmission potential. These results show the rapid and extensive benefits of a well-balanced diet and have important implications for both disease control and wildlife health under changing environmental conditions.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by PhD studentships from the Darwin Trust of Edinburgh to A.R.S. and S.V., a Torrance Bequest scholarship from the University of Edinburgh awarded to M.C., a Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) grants to A.B.P. (ISSF 2014; J22737) and S.A.B. (097821/Z/11/Z), a targeted Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine Research Fellowship to S.A.B., a Wellcome Trust Strategic Grant for the Centre for Immunity Infection and Evolution (095831) to A.B.P. and a University of Edinburgh Chancellors Fellowship to A.B.P.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Babayan, Dr Simon
Authors: Sweeny, A. R., Clerc, M., Pontifes, P. A., Venkatesan, S., Babayan, S. A., and Pederson, A. B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:0962-8452
ISSN (Online):1471-2954
Published Online:20 January 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 288(1943):20202722
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
190536Integrated Health - Polyomics and Systems Biomedicine (ISSF Bid)Anna DominiczakWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)097821/Z/11/ZInstitute of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences