Metagenome-wide association of gut microbiome features for schizophrenia

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Feng Zhu
  • Yanmei Ju
  • Wei Wang
  • Qi Wang
  • Ruijin Guo
  • Qingyan Ma
  • Qiang Sun
  • Yajuan Fan
  • Yuying Xie
  • Zai Yang
  • Zhuye Jie
  • Binbin Zhao
  • Liang Xiao
  • Lin Yang
  • Tao Zhang
  • Junqin Feng
  • Liyang Guo
  • Xiaoyan He
  • Yunchun Chen
  • Ce Chen
  • Chengge Gao
  • Xun Xu
  • Huanming Yang
  • Jian Wang
  • Yonghui Dang
  • Lise Madsen
  • Susanne Brix
  • Huijue Jia
  • Xiancang Ma

Evidence is mounting that the gut-brain axis plays an important role in mental diseases fueling mechanistic investigations to provide a basis for future targeted interventions. However, shotgun metagenomic data from treatment-naïve patients are scarce hampering comprehensive analyses of the complex interaction between the gut microbiota and the brain. Here we explore the fecal microbiome based on 90 medication-free schizophrenia patients and 81 controls and identify a microbial species classifier distinguishing patients from controls with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.896, and replicate the microbiome-based disease classifier in 45 patients and 45 controls (AUC = 0.765). Functional potentials associated with schizophrenia include differences in short-chain fatty acids synthesis, tryptophan metabolism, and synthesis/degradation of neurotransmitters. Transplantation of a schizophrenia-enriched bacterium, Streptococcus vestibularis, appear to induces deficits in social behaviors, and alters neurotransmitter levels in peripheral tissues in recipient mice. Our findings provide new leads for further investigations in cohort studies and animal models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1612
JournalNature Communications
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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