Experimental Chagas disease-induced perturbations of the fecal microbiome and metabolome

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Mar 12;12(3):e0006344. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006344. eCollection 2018 Mar.


Trypanosoma cruzi parasites are the causative agents of Chagas disease. These parasites infect cardiac and gastrointestinal tissues, leading to local inflammation and tissue damage. Digestive Chagas disease is associated with perturbations in food absorption, intestinal traffic and defecation. However, the impact of T. cruzi infection on the gut microbiota and metabolome have yet to be characterized. In this study, we applied mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and 16S rRNA sequencing to profile infection-associated alterations in fecal bacterial composition and fecal metabolome through the acute-stage and into the chronic stage of infection, in a murine model of Chagas disease. We observed joint microbial and chemical perturbations associated with T. cruzi infection. These included alterations in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) derivatives and in specific members of families Ruminococcaceae and Lachnospiraceae, as well as alterations in secondary bile acids and members of order Clostridiales. These results highlight the importance of multi-'omics' and poly-microbial studies in understanding parasitic diseases in general, and Chagas disease in particular.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / analysis
  • Chagas Disease / metabolism*
  • Chagas Disease / microbiology*
  • Chagas Disease / parasitology
  • Chagas Disease / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / parasitology
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / microbiology*
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / parasitology
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated / analysis
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics
  • Mice
  • Microbial Interactions
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / pathogenicity


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S