Chronic helminth infection perturbs the gut-brain axis, promotes neuropathology, and alters behavior

Paul R. Giacomin, Ann Katrin Kraeuter, Eduardo A. Albornoz, Shuting Jin, Mia Bengtsson, Richard Gordon, Trent M. Woodruff, Tim Urich, Zoltán Sarnyai, Ricardo J.Soares Magalhães

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Abstract

Helminth infections in children are associated with impaired cognitive development; however, the biological mechanisms for this remain unclear. Using a murine model of gastrointestinal helminth infection, we demonstrate that early-life exposure to helminths promotes local and systemic inflammatory responses and transient changes in the gastrointestinal microbiome. Behavioral and cognitive analyses performed 9-months postinfection revealed deficits in spatial recognition memory and an anxiety-like behavioral phenotype in worm-infected mice, which was associated with neuropathology and increased microglial activation within the brain. This study demonstrates a previously unrecognized mechanism through which helminth infections may influence cognitive function, via perturbations in the gut-immune-brain axis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1511-1516
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume218
Issue number9
Early online date15 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

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