In endemic regions concurrent infection with multiple gastrointestinal (GI) helminth species is more common than single species infection. However, the majority of model helminth infections focus on single species infections leading to a lack of understanding of how co-infection influences anti-parasite immune responses. Here, we use a model co-infection of Trichuris muris (Tm) and Heligmosomoides bakeri (Hb) to investigate the effect of Hb on anti-Tm immune responses. We observed a complete impairment of Tm expulsion in immune competent C57BL/6 mice when co-infected with Hb. This was coupled with reduced cellularity in the colonic mesenteric lymph node (cMLN) proximal to the caecum, however, cMLN cytokine responses and caecal mucosal immune responses in co-infected mice were not significantly different from mice infected with Tm alone. Interestingly, in immune-compromised mice, we found co-infection resulted in enhanced growth and fecundity of female Tm parasites. These data suggest that during helminth-helminth co-infection, immune-independent signals between species may promote survival and growth.
- Mice, Inbred C57BL