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BMC Gastroenterol. 2013 Dec 26;13:175. doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-13-175.

Abnormal fecal microbiota community and functions in patients with hepatitis B liver cirrhosis as revealed by a metagenomic approach.

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Institute of Disease Control and Prevention, Academy of Military Medical Sciences, No, 20 Dongda street, Fengtai District, Beijing 100071, China.



Assessment and characterization of human colon microbiota is now a major research area in human diseases, including in patients with hepatitis B liver cirrhosis (HBLC).


We recruited 120 patients with HBLC and 120 healthy controls. The fecal microbial community and functions in the two groups were analyzed using high-throughput Solexa sequencing of the complete metagenomic DNA and bioinformatics methods.


Community and metabolism-wide changes of the fecal microbiota in 20 HBLC patients and 20 healthy controls were observed and compared. A negative correlation was observed between the Child-Turcotte-Pugh scores and Bacteroidetes (P < 0.01), whereas a positive correlation was observed between the scores and Enterobacteriaceae and Veillonella (P < 0.01). Analysis of the additional 200 fecal microbiota samples demonstrated that these intestinal microbial markers might be useful for distinguishing liver cirrhosis microbiota samples from normal ones. The functional diversity was significantly reduced in the fecal microbiota of cirrhotic patients compared with in the controls. At the module or pathway levels, the fecal microbiota of the HBLC patients showed enrichment in the metabolism of glutathione, gluconeogenesis, branched-chain amino acid, nitrogen, and lipid (P < 0.05), whereas there was a decrease in the level of aromatic amino acid, bile acid and cell cycle related metabolism (P < 0.05).


Extensive differences in the microbiota community and metabolic potential were detected in the fecal microbiota of cirrhotic patients. The intestinal microbial community may act as an independent organ to regulate the body's metabolic balance, which may affect the prognosis for HBLC patients.

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