Association of Gut Microbiome and Vitamin D Deficiency in Knee Osteoarthritis Patients: A Pilot Study

Nutrients. 2021 Apr 13;13(4):1272. doi: 10.3390/nu13041272.


Background: Few preclinical studies have shown that Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is linked to gut microbiome dysbiosis and chronic inflammation. This pilot study was designed to look at the gut microbiome composition in KOA patients and normal individuals with or without vitamin D deficiency (VDD, serum vitamin D <30 ng/mL).

Methods: This pilot study was conducted prospectively in 24 participants. The faecal samples of all the participants were taken for DNA extraction. The V3-V4 region of 16s rRNA was amplified, and the library was prepared and sequenced on the Illumina Miseq platform.

Results: The mean (±SD) age was 45.5 (±10.2) years with no defined comorbidities. Of 447 total Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs), a differential abundance of 16 nominally significant OTUs between the groups was observed. Linear discriminate analysis (LEfSe) revealed a significant difference in bacteria among the study groups. Pseudobutyrivibrio and Odoribacter were specific for VDD, while Parabacteroides, Butyricimonas and Gordonibacter were abundant in the KOA_VDD group, and Peptococcus, Intestimonas, Delftia and Oribacterium were abundant in the KOA group. About 80% of bacterial species were common among different groups and hence labelled as core bacterial species. However, the core microbiome of KOA and VDD groups were not seen in the KOA_VDD group, suggesting that these bacterial groups were affected by the interaction of the KOA and VDD factors.

Conclusion: Parabacteroides, Butyricimonas, Pseudobutyrivibrio, Odoribacter and Gordonibacter are the predominant bacteria in vitamin D deficient patients with or without KOA. Together these results indicate an association between the gut microbiome, vitamin D and knee osteoarthritis.

Keywords: gut microbiome; knee osteoarthritis; vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • Dysbiosis / complications*
  • Dysbiosis / diagnosis
  • Dysbiosis / immunology
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / immunology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / microbiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Pilot Projects
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / immunology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / microbiology


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Vitamin D