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Malaria parasite infection compromises colonization resistance to an enteric pathogen by reducing gastric acidity.

  • Author(s): Walker, Gregory T
  • Yang, Guiyan
  • Tsai, Julia Y
  • Rodriguez, Jorge L
  • English, Bevin C
  • Faber, Franziska
  • Souvannaseng, Lattha
  • Butler, Brian P
  • Tsolis, Renée M
  • et al.

Malaria parasite infection weakens colonization resistance against Salmonella enterica serovar (S.) Typhimurium. S. Typhimurium is a member of the Enterobacterales, a taxon that increases in abundance when the colonic microbiota is disrupted or when the colonic mucosa is inflamed. However, here, we show that infection of mice with Plasmodium yoelii enhances S. Typhimurium colonization by weakening host control in the upper GI tract. P. yoelii-infected mice had elevated gastric pH. Stimulation of gastric acid secretion during P. yoelii infection restored stomach acidity and colonization resistance, demonstrating that parasite-induced hypochlorhydria increases gastric survival of S. Typhimurium. Furthermore, blockade of P. yoelii-induced TNF-α signaling was sufficient to prevent elevation of gastric pH and enhance S. Typhimurium colonization during concurrent infection. Collectively, these data suggest that abundance in the fecal microbiota of facultative anaerobes, such as S. Typhimurium, can be increased by suppressing antibacterial defenses in the upper GI tract, such as gastric acid.

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