Globally, stunting affects approximately 149.2 million children under 5 years of age. The underlying aetiology and pathophysiological mechanisms leading to stunting remain elusive, and therefore few effective treatment and prevention strategies exist. Crucial evidence directly linking parasites to stunting is often lacking – in part due to the complex nature of stunting, as well as a lack of critical multidisciplinary research amongst key age groups. Here, based on available studies, we present potential mechanistic pathways by which parasitic infection of mother and/or infant may lead to childhood stunting. We highlight the need for future multidisciplinary longitudinal studies and clinical trials aimed at elucidating the most influential factors, and synergies therein, that can lead to stunting, and ultimately towards finding solutions to successfully mitigate against it.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are very grateful to the Bloomsbury Colleges grant to I.G. ( VPR.1924 ), and the Global Challenges Research Fund (A.S.R. and J.P.W.: Ref MR/S01313X/1 ) for funding. Figures created with BioRender.com .
- environmental enteric dysfunction