Experimental hookworm infection and escalating gluten challenges are associated with increased microbial richness in celiac subjects

Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 18;5:13797. doi: 10.1038/srep13797.


The intestinal microbiota plays a critical role in the development of the immune system. Recent investigations have highlighted the potential of helminth therapy for treating a range of inflammatory disorders, including celiac disease (CeD); however, the mechanisms by which helminths modulate the immune response of the human host and ameliorate CeD pathology are unknown. In this study, we investigated the potential role of alterations in the human gut microbiota in helminth-mediated suppression of an inflammatory disease. We assessed the qualitative and quantitative changes in the microbiota of human volunteers with CeD prior to and following infection with human hookworms, and following challenge with escalating doses of dietary gluten. Experimental hookworm infection of the trial subjects resulted in maintenance of the composition of the intestinal flora, even after a moderate gluten challenge. Notably, we observed a significant increase in microbial species richness over the course of the trial, which could represent a potential mechanism by which hookworms can regulate gluten-induced inflammation and maintain intestinal immune homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ancylostomatoidea* / immunology
  • Animals
  • Biodiversity*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Celiac Disease / etiology*
  • Celiac Disease / therapy
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / immunology
  • Glutens / metabolism*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Hookworm Infections* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation
  • Metagenome
  • Metagenomics / methods


  • Glutens