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Metabolic alterations in the hamster co-infected with Schistosoma japonicum and Necator americanus

Wu, Jun-Fang, Holmes, Elaine, Xue, Jian, Xiao, Shu-Hua, Singer, Burton H., Tang, Hui-Ru, Utzinger, Jürg, Wang, Yu-Lan
International journal for parasitology 2010 v.40 no.6 pp. 695-703
Necator americanus, Schistosoma japonicum, amino acids, animal models, blood serum, cercariae, citrates, digestive system, glucose, hamsters, hookworms, humans, metabolites, metabolomics, mixed infection, multivariate analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, parasitoses, succinic acid, tricarboxylic acid cycle, urine, South America
Co-infection with hookworm and schistosomes is a common phenomenon in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in parts of South America and southeast Asia. As a first step towards understanding the metabolic response of a hookworm-schistosome co-infection in humans, we investigated the metabolic consequences of co-infection in an animal model, using a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolic profiling technique, combined with multivariate statistical analysis. Urine and serum samples were obtained from hamsters experimentally infected with 250 Necator americanus infective L₃ and 100 Schistosoma japonicum cercariae simultaneously. In the co-infection model, similar worm burdens were observed as reported for single infection models, whereas metabolic profiles of co-infection represented a combination of the altered metabolite profiles induced by single infections with these two parasites. Consistent differences in metabolic profiles between the co-infected and non-infected control hamsters were observed from 4weeks p.i. onwards. The predominant metabolic alterations in co-infected hamsters consisted of depletion of amino acids, tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates (e.g. citrate and succinate) and glucose. Moreover, alterations of a series of gut microbial-related metabolites, such as decreased levels of hippurate, 3-hydroxyphenylpropionic acid, 4-hydroxyphenylpropionic acid and trimethylamine-N-oxide, and increased concentrations of 4-cresol glucuronide and phenylacetylglycine were associated with co-infection. Our results provide a first step towards understanding the metabolic response of an animal host to multiple parasitic infections.