Tongue Coating Microbiome as a Potential Biomarker for Gastritis Including Precancerous Cascade

Protein Cell. 2019 Jul;10(7):496-509. doi: 10.1007/s13238-018-0596-6. Epub 2018 Nov 26.


The development of gastritis is associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer. Current invasive gastritis diagnostic methods are not suitable for monitoring progress. In this work based on 78 gastritis patients and 50 healthy individuals, we observed that the variation of tongue-coating microbiota was associated with the occurrence and development of gastritis. Twenty-one microbial species were identified for differentiating tongue-coating microbiomes of gastritis and healthy individuals. Pathways such as microbial metabolism in diverse environments, biosynthesis of antibiotics and bacterial chemotaxis were up-regulated in gastritis patients. The abundance of Campylobacter concisus was found associated with the gastric precancerous cascade. Furthermore, Campylobacter concisus could be detected in tongue coating and gastric fluid in a validation cohort containing 38 gastritis patients. These observations provided biological evidence of tongue diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine, and indicated that tongue-coating microbiome could be a potential non-invasive biomarker, which might be suitable for long-term monitoring of gastritis.

Keywords: Campylobacter concisus; gastritis; metagenomics; non-invasive biomarker; tongue coating.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gastritis / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbiota*
  • Middle Aged
  • Precancerous Conditions / microbiology*
  • Tongue / microbiology*


  • Biomarkers