Helminth infection promotes colonization resistance via type 2 immunity

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Science  14 Apr 2016:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf3229

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Increasing incidence of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease (CD) in developed nations is associated with changes to the environment, such as decreased prevalence of helminth colonization and alterations to the gut microbiota. We find that helminth infection protects mice deficient in the CD susceptibility gene Nod2 from intestinal abnormalities by inhibiting colonization with an inflammatory Bacteroides species. Colonization resistance to Bacteroides was dependent on type-2 immunity, which promoted the establishment of a protective microbiota enriched in Clostridiales. Additionally, we show that individuals from helminth-endemic regions harbor a similar protective microbiota, and that deworming treatment reduced Clostridiales and increased Bacteroidales. These results support a model of the hygiene hypothesis whereby certain individuals are genetically susceptible to the consequences of a changing microbial environment.

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