Transcriptome analysis in whole blood reveals increased microbial diversity in schizophrenia

Lead author: Roel Ophoff, University California Los Angeles

Relative abundances of microbial taxa at the phylum level in ALS, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and healthy controls (Ophoff et al)

The team used high-throughput RNA sequencing from whole blood to analyze the blood microbiome. They identified a range of bacterial phyla in blood obtained from patients w/ schizophrenia, ALS, bipolar and HEALTHY CONTROLS…while making a serious effort to account for contamination. Can we please perform this exact same analysis on blood samples from patients with many more chronic inflammatory conditions!? 

Iron Dysregulation and Dormant Microbes as Causative Agents for Impaired Blood Rheology and Pathological Clotting in Alzheimer’s Type Dementia

Lead author: Etheresia Pretorius, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

The paper describes mechanisms by which inflammation + oxidative stress (driven by re-activated microbes in blood) can lead to red blood cell deformability and dysregulated nitric oxide (NO) synthesis in Alzheimer’s patients. These processes may impair delivery of oxygen to the brain. The study features actual images of deformed red blood cells in Alzheimer’s (as seen under a microscope).

Identification and removal of contaminating microbial DNA from PCR reagents: impact on low‐biomass microbiome analyses

Lead author: Matt Payne, The University of Western Australia

Reagent-derived contamination (with microbes) can compromise the integrity of microbiome data, particularly in low microbial biomass samples (samples often obtained from the brain, blood, and womb). An analysis by the team found that the majority of contaminating DNA was derived from the PCR master mix. Importantly, this contamination was almost completely eliminated using a simple dsDNase treatment, which resulted in a 99% reduction in contaminating bacterial reads.