Altered Gut Microbiota and Mucosal Immunity in Patients With Schizophrenia

Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Mar;85:120-127. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2019.06.039. Epub 2019 Jun 27.


Evidence shows that gut microbiota may play important roles in schizophrenia pathogenesis via the "gut-brain" axis, but the mechanisms remain unclear. Here, eighty-four patients with schizophrenia and 84 sex- and age-matched healthy controls were enrolled. Shotgun metagenomic sequencing and 16S rRNA sequencing were performed, and the gut microbiota-associated epitopes (MEs) were predicted, which, together with IgA content, were used to determine the gut microbiota composition associated with gut immune status. Patients with schizophrenia had significantly reduced gut microbiota richnesses compared with those of the healthy controls, and the gut microbiota compositions clearly distinguished the patients with schizophrenia from the healthy controls. Based on two-stage metagenomic-wide association studies, nineteen gut microbiota taxonomies were associated with schizophrenia, and the microbial dysbiosis (MD) index was calculated based on the abundance of differential taxonomies. We found that MD index was positively correlated with MEs diversity and gut IgA levels, and negatively correlated with gut microbiota richness. Glutamate synthase (GOGAT) was more active in the guts of patients with schizophrenia than in those of healthy controls, and high GOGAT activity was associated with altered gut microbiota taxonomies associated with gut IgA levels. Our results may imply a role of the microbiome in the etiology of schizophrenia and contribute to the development of microbiome targeted interventions for schizophrenia.

Keywords: 16S rRNA sequencing; Epitopes; IgA; Microbial dysbiosis index; Schizophrenia; Shotgun metagenomic sequencing.