Transcriptome analysis in whole blood reveals increased microbial diversity in schizophrenia

Loes M. Olde Loohuis, Serghei Mangul, Anil P.S. 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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    44 Scopus citations


    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.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number96
    JournalTranslational psychiatry
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
    • Biological Psychiatry


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