PARAGUT - Parasits, diet and gut health

Infection with gut nematode parasites (helminths) is a major constraint on livestock production worldwide. In addition to direct effects on health and productivity, helminths have profound suppressive effects on host immunity, which may compromise vaccine efficacy and increase the pathogenicity of bacterial co-infections, thus compromising gut health.

Parasite resistance to drugs and concerns about drug residues have necessitated the need for alternative, more sustainable ways to improve health and immunity in livestock production.

In ParaGut, we will use robust murine and porcine infection models to investigate:

  1. How the use of prebiotics such as inulin can modulate mucosal immune function during helminth infection.
  2. The use of probiotics such as Lactobacillus as a novel anti-parasitic treatment.
  3. How prebiotics and probiotics interact with helminth infections to influence the diversity and composition of the gut microbiota and host metabolome.

It is anticipated that ParaGut will provide fundamental insight into the basic interactions between diet, immunity, and parasites influencing gut health.

Moreover, the knowledge gained can be directly translated into novel parasite control options.

Furthermore, the excellent utility of the pig as a model for human health also means that this work may have broad relevance for understanding the relationship between diet and gastrointestinal immune function in humans.

Finally, these approaches may provide novel treatment options for closely related helminths that infect more than one billion humans worldwide.

For MORE information contact Andrew Richard Williams: