Gut microbiome contributes to impairment of immunity in pulmonary tuberculosis patients by alteration of butyrate and propionate producers

Environ Microbiol. 2018 Jan;20(1):402-419. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.14015. Epub 2017 Dec 21.


Tuberculosis (TB) is primarily associated with decline in immune health status. As gut microbiome (GM) is implicated in the regulation of host immunity and metabolism, here we investigate GM alteration in TB patients by 16S rRNA gene and whole-genome shotgun sequencing. The study group constituted of patients with pulmonary TB and their healthy household contacts as controls (HCs). Significant alteration of microbial taxonomic and functional capacity was observed in patients with active TB as compared to the HCs. We observed that Prevotella and Bifidobacterium abundance were associated with HCs, whereas butyrate and propionate-producing bacteria like Faecalibacterium, Roseburia, Eubacterium and Phascolarctobacterium were significantly enriched in TB patients. Functional analysis showed reduced biosynthesis of vitamins and amino acids in favour of enriched metabolism of butyrate and propionate in TB subjects. The TB subjects were also investigated during the course of treatment, to analyse the variation of GM. Although perturbation in microbial composition was still evident after a month's administration of anti-TB drugs, significant changes were observed in metagenome gene pool that pointed towards recovery in functional capacity. Therefore, the findings from this pilot study suggest that microbial dysbiosis may contribute to pathophysiology of TB by enhancing the anti-inflammatory milieu in the host.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Butyrates / metabolism*
  • Dysbiosis
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metagenome
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Propionates / metabolism*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / metabolism
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / microbiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Butyrates
  • Propionates
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S