Macrobiota - helminths as active participants and partners of the microbiota in host intestinal homeostasis

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2016 Aug;32:14-18. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2016.04.004. Epub 2016 Apr 23.


Important insights have recently been gained in our understanding of the intricate relationship in the intestinal milieu between the vertebrate host mucosal immune response, commensal bacteria, and helminths. Helminths are metazoan worms (macrobiota) and trigger immune responses that include potent regulatory components capable of controlling harmful inflammation, protecting barrier function and mitigating tissue damage. They can secrete a variety of products that directly affect immune regulatory function but they also have the capacity to influence the composition of microbiota, which can also then impact immune function. Conversely, changes in microbiota can affect susceptibility to helminth infection, indicating that crosstalk between these two disparate groups of endobiota can play an essential role in host intestinal immune function and homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Helminthiasis / parasitology
  • Helminths / immunology*
  • Homeostasis / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance / immunology*
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa* / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa* / microbiology
  • Intestinal Mucosa* / parasitology