The impact of a helminth-modified microbiome on host immunity

Mucosal Immunol. 2018 Jul;11(4):1039-1046. doi: 10.1038/s41385-018-0008-5. Epub 2018 Feb 16.


Intestinal helminths have well-characterized modulatory effects on mammalian immune pathways. Ongoing helminth infection has been associated with both the suppression of allergies and an altered susceptibility to microbial infections. Enteric helminths share a niche with the intestinal microbiota, and the presence of helminths alters the microbiota composition and the metabolic signature of the host. Recent studies have demonstrated that the helminth-modified intestinal microbiome has the capacity to modify host immune responses even in the absence of live helminth infection. This article discusses the mechanisms by which helminths modify the intestinal microbiome of mammals, and reviews the evidence for a helminth-modified microbiome directly influencing host immunity during infectious and inflammatory diseases. Understanding the multifaceted mechanisms that underpin helminth immunomodulation will pave the way for novel therapies to combat infectious and inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Therapy / trends
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Helminths / immunology*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunomodulation
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Intestines / immunology*
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Intestines / parasitology
  • Microbiota*