The gut microbiome is associated with brain structure and function in schizophrenia

Shijia Li, Jie Song, Pengfei Ke, Lingyin Kong, Bingye Lei, Jing Zhou, Yuanyuan Huang, Hehua Li, Guixiang Li, Jun Chen, Xiaobo Li, Zhiming Xiang, Yuping Ning, Fengchun Wu, Kai Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The effect of the gut microbiome on the central nervous system and its possible role in mental disorders have received increasing attention. However, knowledge about the relationship between the gut microbiome and brain structure and function is still very limited. Here, we used 16S rRNA sequencing with structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) and resting-state functional (rs-fMRI) to investigate differences in fecal microbiota between 38 patients with schizophrenia (SZ) and 38 demographically matched normal controls (NCs) and explored whether such differences were associated with brain structure and function. At the genus level, we found that the relative abundance of Ruminococcus and Roseburia was significantly lower, whereas the abundance of Veillonella was significantly higher in SZ patients than in NCs. Additionally, the analysis of MRI data revealed that several brain regions showed significantly lower gray matter volume (GMV) and regional homogeneity (ReHo) but significantly higher amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation in SZ patients than in NCs. Moreover, the alpha diversity of the gut microbiota showed a strong linear relationship with the values of both GMV and ReHo. In SZ patients, the ReHo indexes in the right STC (r = − 0.35, p = 0.031, FDR corrected p = 0.039), the left cuneus (r = − 0.33, p = 0.044, FDR corrected p = 0.053) and the right MTC (r = − 0.34, p = 0.03, FDR corrected p = 0.052) were negatively correlated with the abundance of the genus Roseburia. Our results suggest that the potential role of the gut microbiome in SZ is related to alterations in brain structure and function. This study provides insights into the underlying neuropathology of SZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9743
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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