No Worm Is an Island; The Influence of Commensal Gut Microbiota on Cyathostomin Infections

Nicola Walshe, Grace Mulcahy, Jane Hodgkinson, Laura Peachey

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The importance of the gut microbiome for host health has been the subject of intense research over the last decade. In particular, there is overwhelming evidence for the influence of resident microbiota on gut mucosal and systemic immunity; with significant implications for the outcome of gastrointestinal (GI) infections, such as parasitic helminths. The horse is a species that relies heavily on its gut microbiota for GI and overall health, and disturbances in this complex ecosystem are often associated with life-threatening disease. In turn, nearly all horses harbour parasitic helminths from a young age, the most prevalent of which are the small strongyles, or cyathostomins. Research describing the relationship between gut microbiota and cyathostomin infection is in its infancy, however, to date there is evidence of meaningful interactions between these two groups of organisms which not only influence the outcome of cyathostomin infection but have long term consequences for equine host health. Here, we describe these interactions alongside supportive evidence from other species and suggest novel theories and avenues for research which have the potential to revolutionize our approach to cyathostomin prevention and control in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2020


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