New Paper Out! A brain-infecting parasite impacts host metabolism both during exposure and after infection is established.

Great news, Drs. Garfield Kwan and Martin Tresguerres recently published an exciting new study as part of an international collaboration studying the effects of parasite infection on host metabolism using the killifish as a model system. Exposure to parasites caused infected killifish to acutely increase their metabolic rate and activity, indicating detection and response to parasite infectious stages. Unexpectedly, established infection reduced lactate dehydrogenase enzyme activity in killifish brains and relative Na+ /K+ -ATPase abundance in gills, suggesting novel mechanisms by which the parasite may alter its hosts’ behavior and osmoregulation capabilities. The study provides empirical evidence that parasites can disrupt the metabolism of their host both during parasite exposure and after infection is established. This response may be modulated by previous infection history, with probable knock-on effects for host performance, brain energy metabolism, osmoregulation and ecology

Read the full paper here!