Preventive Trichuris suis ova (TSO) treatment protects immunocompetent rabbits from DSS colitis but may be detrimental under conditions of immunosuppression.
Trichuris suis ova (TSO) have been tested for therapeutic application in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) yet understanding of the underlying mechanisms and safety in an immunocompromised host is limited due to lack of a suitable animal model. We used a recently established rabbit model of dextran sodium sulphate (DSS) induced colitis to study the efficacy, mechanisms and safety of TSO therapy in immunocompetent and immunosuppressed animals. TSO treatment prevented the DSS induced weight loss, delayed the onset of DSS induced symptoms by 2 days and significantly reduced the disease activity (DAI). TSO treatment protected caecal histology and prevented the colitis-associated loss in faecal microbiota diversity. Mainly the transcriptome of lamina propria mononuclear cells (LPMC) was affected by TSO treatment, showing dampened innate and adaptive inflammatory responses. The protective effect of TSO was lost in immunosuppressed rabbits, where TSO exacerbated colitis. Our data show that preventive TSO treatment ameliorates colitis severity in immunocompetent rabbits, modulates LPMC immune responses and reduces faecal dysbiosis. In contrast, the same TSO treatment exacerbates colitis in immunosuppressed animals. Our data provide further evidence for a therapeutic effect of TSO in IBD, yet caution is required with regard to TSO treatment in immunosuppressed patients.