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PeerJ. 2017 Jun 15;5:e3450. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3450. eCollection 2017.

Diversity analysis of gut microbiota in osteoporosis and osteopenia patients.

Author information

Hong Hui Hospital, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China.
The Tenth Research Institute of Telecommunications Technology, Xi'an, China.
Department of Pathogenic Biology and Immunology, Key Laboratory of Environment and Genes Related to Diseases, Ministry of Education of China, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Xi'an Jiaotong University Health Science Center, Xi'an, China.
Contributed equally


Some evidence suggests that bone health can be regulated by gut microbiota. To better understand this, we performed 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing to analyze the intestinal microbial diversity in primary osteoporosis (OP) patients, osteopenia (ON) patients and normal controls (NC). We observed an inverse correlation between the number of bacterial taxa and the value of bone mineral density. The diversity estimators in the OP and ON groups were increased compared with those in the NC group. Beta diversity analyses based on hierarchical clustering and principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) could discriminate the NC samples from OP and ON samples. Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria constituted the four dominant phyla in all samples. Proportion of Firmicutes was significantly higher and Bacteroidetes was significantly lower in OP samples than that in NC samples (p < 0.05), Gemmatimonadetes and Chloroflexi were significantly different between OP and NC group as well as between ON and NC group (p < 0.01). A total of 21 genera with proportions above 1% were detected and Bacteroides accounted for the largest proportion in all samples. The Blautia, Parabacteroides and Ruminococcaceae genera differed significantly between the OP and NC group (p < 0.05). Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) results showed one phylum community and seven phylum communities were enriched in ON and OP, respectively. Thirty-five genus communities, five genus communities and two genus communities were enriched in OP, ON and NC, respectively. The results of this study indicate that gut microbiota may be a critical factor in osteoporosis development, which can further help us search for novel biomarkers of gut microbiota in OP and understand the interaction between gut microbiota and bone health.


16S ribosomal RNA; Bone mineral density; Diversity analysis; Gut microbiota; Osteoporosis

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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