PLoS ONE (2020-01-01)

Multicenter analysis of sputum microbiota in tuberculosis patients.

  • Claudia Sala,
  • Andrej Benjak,
  • Delia Goletti,
  • Sayera Banu,
  • Jesica Mazza-Stadler,
  • Katia Jaton,
  • Philippe Busso,
  • Sille Remm,
  • Marion Leleu,
  • Jacques Rougemont,
  • Fabrizio Palmieri,
  • Gilda Cuzzi,
  • Ornella Butera,
  • Valentina Vanini,
  • Senjuti Kabir,
  • S M Mazidur Rahman,
  • Laurent Nicod,
  • Stewart T Cole

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 15, no. 10
p. e0240250


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The impact of tuberculosis and of anti-tuberculosis therapy on composition and modification of human lung microbiota has been the object of several investigations. However, no clear outcome has been presented so far and the relationship between M. tuberculosis pulmonary infection and the resident lung microbiota remains vague. In this work we describe the results obtained from a multicenter study of the microbiota of sputum samples from patients with tuberculosis or unrelated lung diseases and healthy donors recruited in Switzerland, Italy and Bangladesh, with the ultimate goal of discovering a microbiota-based biomarker associated with tuberculosis. Bacterial 16S rDNA amplification, high-throughput sequencing and extensive bioinformatic analyses revealed patient-specific flora and high variability in taxon abundance. No common signature could be identified among the individuals enrolled except for minor differences which were not consistent among the different geographical settings. Moreover, anti-tuberculosis therapy did not cause any important variation in microbiota diversity, thus precluding its exploitation as a biomarker for the follow up of tuberculosis patients undergoing treatment.