Background: Ascites bacterial burden is associated with poor clinical outcomes in patients with end-stage liver disease. However, the impact of ascitic microbial composition on clinical course was still not clear. In this study, the ascitic microbiota composition of 100 cirrhotic patients with culture-negative and nonneutrocytic ascites were researched. Results: By characterizing the ascitic microbial composition, two distinct microbial clusters were observed, Cluster 1 (86 patients) and Cluster 2 (14 patients). Cluster 1 showed lower microbial richness than Cluster 2. At the phylum level, Cluster 1 had greater abundance of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, but less abundance of Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria than Cluster 2. At the family level, family Bacteroidales S24-7 group, Prevotellaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Lactobacillaceae, Rikenellaceae, and Vibrionaceae were found over-represented in Cluster 1. And family Acetobacteraceae, Erysipelotrichaceae, Rickettsiaceae, and Streptococcaceae were found enriched in Cluster 2. The levels of plasma cytokine IL-17A, IL-7, and PDGF-BB were found significantly higher in Cluster 1 than in Cluster 2. There were four OTUs closely correlated with plasma cytokines, which were OTU 140 and OTU 271 (both from Bacteroidales S24-7 group), OTU 68 (Veillonellaceae), and OTU 53 (Helicobacteraceae). Patients from Cluster 1 showed significant higher short-term mortality than patients from Cluster 2. Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that the microbial composition of culture-negative and nonneutrocytic ascites in cirrhotic patients is associated with short-term clinical outcomes. The results here offer a rational for the identification of patients with high risk, and provide references for selective use of prophylactic methods.
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