The Intestinal Microbiota Contributes to the Ability of Helminths to Modulate Allergic Inflammation
Intestinal helminths are potent regulators of their host's immune system and can ameliorate inflammatory diseases such as allergic asthma. In the present study we have assessed whether this anti-inflammatory activity was purely intrinsic to helminths, or whether it also involved crosstalk with the local microbiota. We report that chronic infection with the murine helminth Heligmosomoides polygyrus bakeri (Hpb) altered the intestinal habitat, allowing increased short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. Transfer of the Hpb-modified microbiota alone was sufficient to mediate protection against allergic asthma. The helminth-induced anti-inflammatory cytokine secretion and regulatory T cell suppressor activity that mediated the protection required the G protein-coupled receptor (GPR)-41. A similar alteration in the metabolic potential of intestinal bacterial communities was observed with diverse parasitic and host species, suggesting that this represents an evolutionary conserved mechanism of host-microbe-helminth interactions.