Comparison of gut microbiome profile in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls - A plausible non-invasive biomarker?

Kuppan Gokulakrishnan, Joyappa Nikhil, Biju Viswanath, Chinnasamy Thirumoorthy, Sandhya Narasimhan, Bharanidharan Devarajan, Ebin Joseph, Arul Kevin Daniel David, Sapna Sharma, Kavitha Vasudevan, Vanteemar S. Sreeraj, Bharath Holla, Venkataram Shivakumar, Monojit Debnath, Ganesan Venkatasubramanian, Shivarama Varambally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The human gut microbiome regulates brain function through the microbiome-gut-brain axis and is implicated in several neuropsychiatric disorders. However, the relationship between the gut microbiome and the pathogenesis of schizophrenia (SCZ) is poorly defined, and very few studies have examined the effect of antipsychotic treatment response. We aim to study the differences in the gut microbiota among drug-naïve (DN SCZ) and risperidone-treated SCZ patients (RISP SCZ), compared to healthy controls (HCs). We recruited a total of 60 participants, from the clinical services of a large neuropsychiatric hospital, which included DN SCZ, RISP SCZ and HCs (n = 20 each). Fecal samples were analyzed using 16s rRNA sequencing in this cross-sectional study. No significant differences were found in taxa richness (alpha diversity) but microbial composition differed between SCZ patients (both DN and RISP) and HCs (PERMANOVA, p = 0.02). Linear Discriminant Analysis Effect Size (LEfSe) and Random Forest model identified the top six genera, which significantly differed in abundance between the study groups. A specific genus-level microbial panel of Ruminococcus, UCG005, Clostridium_sensu_stricto_1 and Bifidobacterium could discriminate SCZ patients from HCs with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.79, HCs vs DN SCZ (AUC: 0.68), HCs vs RISP SCZ (AUC: 0.93) and DN SCZ vs RISP SCZ (AUC: 0.87). Our study identified distinct microbial signatures that could aid in the differentiation of DN SCZ, RISP SCZ, and HCs. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of the role of the gut microbiome in SCZ pathophysiology and suggest potential targeted interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-149
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • 16s rRNA
  • Diagnostic marker
  • Gut microbiome
  • Risperidone
  • Schizophrenia


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