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Gut microbiota composition does not associate with Toxoplasma infection in rats
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  • Patrick Taggart,
  • Craig Liddicoat,
  • Wen Han Tong,
  • Martin Breed,
  • Philip Weinstein,
  • Ajai Vyas
Patrick Taggart
The University of Adelaide

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Craig Liddicoat
Flinders University
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Wen Han Tong
Nanyang Technological University
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Martin Breed
Flinders University
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Philip Weinstein
The University of Adelaide
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Ajai Vyas
Nanyang Technological University
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Toxoplasma infection in intermediate host species closely associates with inflammation. This association has led to suggestions that the behavioural changes associated with infection may be indirectly driven by the resulting sustained inflammation rather than a direct behavioural manipulation by the parasite. If this is correct, sustained inflammation in chronically infected rodents should present as widespread changes in the gastrointestinal microbiota due to the dependency between the composition of these microbiota and sustained inflammation. We conducted a randomized controlled experiment in rats that were assigned to a Toxoplasma-treatment, placebo-treatment or negative control group. We sacrificed rats during the chronic phase of infection, collected their cecal stool samples and sequenced the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene to characterise the bacterial community in these samples. Toxoplasma infection did not induce widespread changes in the bacterial community composition of the gastrointestinal tract of rats. Rather, we found sex differences in the bacterial community composition and only minor changes in Toxoplasma infected rats. We conclude that it is unlikely that sustained inflammation is the mechanism driving the highly specific behavioural changes observed in Toxoplasma-positive rats.
05 Nov 2021Submitted to Molecular Ecology
05 Nov 2021Submission Checks Completed
05 Nov 2021Assigned to Editor
08 Dec 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
28 Jan 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
31 Jan 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
01 Apr 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
01 Apr 20221st Revision Received
01 Apr 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
25 May 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Jul 2022Published in Molecular Ecology volume 31 issue 14 on pages 3963-3970. 10.1111/mec.16552