The homeostasis of the immune system is influenced by the gut microbiota. Previous studies have reported dysbiosis in the gut microbiota of myasthenia gravis (MG) patients. To investigate potential alterations in gut microbiota and metabolites in newly diagnosed and untreated MG patients, we conducted a case-control study.
Fecal samples were collected from 11 newly diagnosed and untreated MG patients as well as 11 age-and sex-matched healthy controls. These samples underwent analysis for gut microbiota using 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequencing, while fecal metabolome was analyzed using liquid chromatography-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry system (LC-ESI-MS/MS).
The microbial community richness (observed species) and diversity (Shannon and Simpson indices) were significantly lower in the MG group compared to the control group. Microbiota composition analysis revealed significant differences between the MG and control groups at phylum, family, and genus levels. Linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSe) analysis showed a substantial decrease in abundance of the genus Faecalibacterium within the MG group. Fecal metabolome analysis identified three up-regulated metabolites involved in amino acid metabolism (taurine, creatinine, L-carnitine), one up-regulated metabolite involved in lipid metabolism (oleic acid), with correlation analysis indicating a positive association between Faecalibacterium abundance and creatinine levels.
Our findings suggest that dysbiosis already exists in newly diagnosed and untreated MG patients, implying that dysbiosis within the gut microbiota may be an initiating factor contributing to MG pathogenesis. Furthermore, F. prausnitzii may hold promise as a probiotic for treating MG.