Linking the effects of helminth infection, diet and the gut microbiota with human wholeblood signatures

Soo Ching Lee, Mei San Tang, Alice V. Easton, Joseph Cooper Devlin, Ling Ling Chua, Ilseung Cho, Foong Ming Moy, Tsung Fei Khang, Yvonne A.L. Lim, P'Ng Loke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Helminth infection and dietary intake can affect the intestinal microbiota, as well as the immune system. Here we analyzed the relationship between fecal microbiota and blood profiles of indigenous Malaysians, referred to locally as Orang Asli, in comparison to urban participants from the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. We found that helminth infections had a larger effect on gut microbial composition than did dietary intake or blood profiles. Trichuris trichiura infection intensity also had the strongest association with blood transcriptional profiles. By characterizing paired longitudinal samples collected before and after deworming treatment, we determined that changes in serum zinc and iron levels among the Orang Asli were driven by changes in helminth infection status, independent of dietary metal intake. Serum zinc and iron levels were associated with changes in the abundance of several microbial taxa. Hence, there is considerable interplay between helminths, micronutrients and the microbiota on the regulation of immune responses in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1008066
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2019


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