Helminth Colonization Is Associated with Increased Diversity of the Gut Microbiota

Soo Ching Lee, Mei San Tang, Yvonne A L Lim, Seow Huey Choy, Zachary D. Kurtz, Laura M. Cox, Uma Mahesh Gundra, Ilseung Cho, Richard Bonneau, Martin J. Blaser, Kek Heng Chua, P'ng Loke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soil-transmitted helminths colonize more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, yet little is known about how they interact with bacterial communities in the gut microbiota. Differences in the gut microbiota between individuals living in developed and developing countries may be partly due to the presence of helminths, since they predominantly infect individuals from developing countries, such as the indigenous communities in Malaysia we examine in this work. We compared the composition and diversity of bacterial communities from the fecal microbiota of 51 people from two villages in Malaysia, of which 36 (70.6%) were infected by helminths. The 16S rRNA V4 region was sequenced at an average of nineteen thousand sequences per samples. Helminth-colonized individuals had greater species richness and number of observed OTUs with enrichment of Paraprevotellaceae, especially with Trichuris infection. We developed a new approach of combining centered log-ratio (clr) transformation for OTU relative abundances with sparse Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (sPLS-DA) to enable more robust predictions of OTU interrelationships. These results suggest that helminths may have an impact on the diversity, bacterial community structure and function of the gut microbiota.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2880
JournalPLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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