Transcriptome analysis in whole blood reveals increased microbial diversity in schizophrenia | Translational Psychiatry

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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