Chronic fatigue syndrome patients have alterations in their oral microbiome composition and function

PLoS One. 2018 Sep 11;13(9):e0203503. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203503. eCollection 2018.


Host-microbe interactions have been implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), but whether the oral microbiome is altered in CFS patients is unknown. We explored alterations of the oral microbiome in Chinese Han CFS patients using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and alterations in the functional potential of the oral microbiome using PICRUSt. We found that Shannon and Simpson diversity indices were not different in CFS patients compared to healthy controls, but the overall oral microbiome composition was different (MANOVA, p < 0.01). CFS patients had a higher relative abundance of Fusobacteria compared with healthy controls. Further, the genera Leptotrichia, Prevotella, and Fusobacterium were enriched and Haemophilus, Veillonella, and Porphyromonas were depleted in CFS patients compared to healthy controls. Functional analysis from inferred metagenomes showed that bacterial genera altered in CFS patients were primarily associated with amino acid and energy metabolism. Our findings demonstrate that the oral microbiome in CFS patients is different from healthy controls, and these differences lead to shifts in functional pathways with implications for CFS pathogenesis. These findings increase our understanding of the relationship between the oral microbiota and CFS, which will advance our understanding of CFS pathogenesis and may contribute to future improvements in treatment and diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • China
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / microbiology*
  • Fusobacteria* / classification
  • Fusobacteria* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Metagenome*
  • Microbiota*
  • Mouth / microbiology*

Grant support

This work was supported by the Special Health Research Project, Ministry of Health of China under Grant [201002012], the Chongqing Health and Family Planning Commission under Grant [20141027], and the National Natural Science Foundation of China [No. 81202220].