The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend: Immune-Mediated Facilitation Contributes to Fitness of Co-Infecting Helminths
Abstract Our conceptual understanding of immune-mediated interactions between parasites is rooted in the theory of community ecology. One of the limitations of this approach is that most of the theory and empirical evidence has focused on resource or immune-mediated parasite competition and yet, there is ample evidence of positive interactions between species that could be generated by immune-mediated facilitation. Here, we develop an immuno-epidemiological framework and apply it to longitudinal infection data of two gastrointestinal helminths that infect a population of free-living rabbits to investigate, through model testing, the mechanisms of immune-mediated facilitation in dual infections. Simulations show that weakened, species-specific IgA antibody responses and unequal, albeit low, IgA cross-reactions explain higher parasite intensities in dual compared to single infections, for both helminths. Simulations also show that rabbits with dual infections shed more free-living stages that survive fort longer in the environment, implying greater onward transmission than hosts with single infections. These findings support the hypothesis that the two helminths interact through immune-mediated facilitation which contributes to greater fitness and the long-term co-circulation of both species in the host population.
|The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend: Immune-Mediated Facilitation Contributes to Fitness of Co-Infecting Helminths
|CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives)
|September 2, 2021
|August 31, 2021
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