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Transcriptome analysis in whole blood reveals increased microbial diversity in schizophrenia

By Loes Olde Loohuis, Serghei Mangul, Anil PS Ori, Guillaume Jospin, David Koslicki, Harry Taegyun Yang, Timothy Wu, Marco P Boks, Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, Martina Wiedau-Pazos, Rita M. Cantor, Willem M de Vos, René S. Kahn, Eleazar Eskin, Roel A Ophoff

Posted 07 Jun 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/057570 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41398-018-0107-9)

The role of the human microbiome in health and disease is increasingly appreciated. We studied the composition of microbial communities present in blood across 192 individuals, including healthy controls and patients with three disorders affecting the brain: schizophrenia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and bipolar disorder. By using high-quality unmapped RNA sequencing reads as candidate microbial reads, we performed profiling of microbial transcripts detected in whole blood. We were able to detect a wide range of bacterial and archaeal phyla in blood. Interestingly, we observed an increased microbial diversity in schizophrenia patients compared to the three other groups. We replicated this finding in an independent schizophrenia case-control cohort. This increased diversity is inversely correlated with estimated cell abundance of a subpopulation of CD8+ memory T cells in healthy controls, supporting a link between microbial products found in blood, immunity, and schizophrenia.

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