Microbiota stratification identifies disease-specific alterations in neuro-Behçet's disease and multiple sclerosis

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2019 Nov-Dec;37 Suppl 121(6):58-66. Epub 2019 May 30.


Objectives: Altered gut microbiota community dynamics are implicated in diverse human diseases including inflammatory disorders such as neuro-Behçet's disease (NBD) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Traditionally, microbiota communities are analysed uniformly across control and disease groups, but recent reports of subsample clustering indicate a potential need for analytical stratification. The objectives of this study are to analyse and compare faecal microbiota community signatures of ethno-geographical, age and gender matched adult healthy controls (HC), MS and NBD individuals.

Methods: Faecal microbiota community compositions in adult HC (n=14), NBD patients (n=13) and MS (n=13) were analysed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and standard bioinformatics pipelines. Bipartite networks were then used to identify and re-analyse dominant compositional clusters in respective groups.

Results: We identified Prevotella and Bacteroides dominated subsample clusters in HC, MS, and NBD cohorts. Our study confirmed previous reports that Prevotella is a major dysbiotic target in these diseases. We demonstrate that subsample stratification is required to identify significant disease-associated microbiota community shifts with increased Clostridiales evident in Prevotella-stratified NBD and Bacteroides-stratified MS patients.

Conclusions: Patient cohort stratification may be needed to facilitate identification of common microbiota community shifts for causation testing in disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behcet Syndrome* / microbiology
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Microbiota*
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / microbiology
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S