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Neuroreport. 2018 Mar 21;29(5):417-425. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000985.

Comparative metaproteomics analysis shows altered fecal microbiota signatures in patients with major depressive disorder.

Chen Z1,2,3, Li J2,3, Gui S2,3, Zhou C2,3,4, Chen J3,5, Yang C2,3,4, Hu Z1,2,3, Wang H2,3,5, Zhong X2,3,6, Zeng L2, Chen K1,2,3, Li P2,3,6, Xie P1,2,3,4.

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Department of Neurology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University.
Chongqing Key Laboratory of Neurobiology.
Institute of Neuroscience and the Collaborative Innovation Center for Brain Science.
Department of Neurology, Yongchuan Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China.
Institute of Life Sciences, Chongqing Medical University.
School of Public Health and Management.


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a highly prevalent and debilitating mental illness, which is associated with disorder of gut microbiota. However, few studies focusing on detection of the signatures of bacteria in feces of MDD patients using proteomics approach have been carried out. Here, a comparative metaproteomics analysis on the basis of an isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantification coupled with tandem mass spectrometry was carried out to explore the signature of gut microbiota in patients with MDD. Ten patients (age: 18-56 years, five women) who had MDD and a score over 20 on the Hamilton's Depression Scale and 10 healthy controls (age: 24-65 years, five women) group matched for sex, age, and BMI were enrolled. As a result, 279 significantly differentiated bacterial proteins (P<0.05) were detected and used for further bioinformatic analysis. According to phylogenetic analysis, statistically significant differences were observed for four phyla: Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria (P<0.05, for each). Abundances of 16 bacterial families were significantly different between the MDD and healthy controls (P<0.05). Furthermore, Cluster of Orthologous Groups analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis showed that disordered metabolic pathways of bacterial proteins were mainly involved in glucose metabolism and amino acid metabolism. In conclusion, fecal microbiota signatures were altered significantly in MDD patients. Our findings provide a novel insight into the potential connection between gut microbiota and depression.

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