Relationships between gastrointestinal parasite infections and the fecal microbiome in free-ranging western lowland gorillas

Klára Vlčková, Barbora Pafčo, Klára J. Petrželková, David Modrý, Angelique Todd, Carl J. Yeoman, Manolito Torralba, Brenda A. Wilson, Rebecca M. Stumpf, Bryan A. White, Karen E. Nelson, Steven R. Leigh, Andres Gomez

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13 Scopus citations


Relationships between gastrointestinal parasites (GIPs) and the gastrointestinal microbiome (GIM) are widely discussed topics across mammalian species due to their possible impact on the host's health. GIPs may change the environment determining alterations in GIM composition. We evaluated the associations between GIP infections and fecal microbiome composition in two habituated and two unhabituated groups of wild western lowland gorillas (Gorilla g. gorilla) from Dzanga Sangha Protected Areas, Central African Republic. We examined 43 fecal samples for GIPs and quantified strongylid nematodes. We characterized fecal microbiome composition through 454 pyrosequencing of the V1-V3 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. Entamoeba spp. infections were associated with significant differences in abundances of bacterial taxa that likely play important roles in nutrition and metabolism for the host, besides being characteristic members of the gorilla gut microbiome. We did not observe any relationships between relative abundances of several bacterial taxa and strongylid egg counts. Based on our findings, we suggest that there is a significant relationship between fecal microbiome and Entamoeba infection in wild gorillas. This study contributes to the overall knowledge about factors involved in modulating GIM communities in great apes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1202
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberJUN
StatePublished - Jun 15 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Government of the Central African Republic and to the World Wildlife Fund for granting permission to conduct our research in the Central African Republic; the Primate Habituation Programme (Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas) for logistical support in the field; K. A. Shutt and all local trackers and assistants for their help with sample collection. We thank Ran Blekhman for hosting KV for the data analyses in his laboratory at the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota. This publication derives from the HPI-lab, Laboratory for Infectious Diseases Common to Humans and (non-Human) Primates, Czech Republic. This work was financially supported by the Internal Grant Agency of University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno 138/2015/FVL, by the institutional support of the Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (RVO: 68081766), by the project CEITEC-Central European Institute of Technology (CZ.1.05/1.100/02.0068) from European Regional Development Fund, and co-financed from European Social Fund and State Budget of the Czech Republic (project OPVK CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0300). Sequencing was supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) 0935347 and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Vlcková, Pafco, Petrželková, Modrý, Todd, Yeoman, Torralba, Wilson, Stumpf, White, Nelson, Leigh and Gomez.


  • Bacteria
  • Entamoeba
  • Fecal microbiome
  • Lowland gorilla
  • Parasite infection
  • Strongylid nematodes


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