Yuquan You1,3, Wei Zhang2, Meimei Cai3, Qingxin Guo3, Jiawen Wang3, Yaping Cai3, Junsheng Lin1

1Huaqiao University, School of Medicine, Quanzhou, China
2The First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University, Jinan University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
3Department of Ankylosing Spondylitis, Quanzhou Orthopedics-Traumatological Hospital, Quanzhou, Fujian, China

Keywords: Ankylosing spondylitis , clinical indicators, gut microbiome, 16S rRNA gene.


Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the characteristics of the gut microbiota in Chinese patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and healthy controls in Quanzhou aiming to explore the correlation between microbiome changes and AS activities.

Patients and methods: In this study, high-throughput sequencing of the gene of 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) in fecal samples from 40 AS patients and 40 healthy controls, for a total of 80 participants (70 males, 10 females; mean age 33.7±10.7 years; range, 15 to 58 years), was conducted between January 2018 and January 2019. Alpha and beta diversity were analyzed using the QIIME (Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology) software, and differences were analyzed using Student’s t-test, linear discriminant analysis coupled with effect size and Metastats. Finally, a correlation network was constructed using Pearson’s analysis.

Results: The alpha index values of the AS group were not significantly different from those of the control group. At the genus level, eight genera, Ruminiclostridium_9, Fusicatenibacter, Adlercreutzia, CAG-56, Intestinimonas, Lachnospira, Bacteroides, and Pseudoflavonifractor, were significantly enriched in patients with AS, whereas the abundance of uncultured_bacterium_f_Saccharimonadaceae, Prevotella_7, uncultured_bacterium_f_ Enterobacteriaceae, Cronobacter, Prevotellaceae_NK3B31_group, and Weissella were significantly decreased in patients with AS. In addition, diseaserelated gut microbial communities were detected in patients with AS.

Conclusion: We found differences in the gut microbiome between the patients with AS and controls and identified potential disease activity-related bacterial communities.

Citation: You Y, Zhang W, Cai M, Guo Q, Wang J, Cai Y, Lin J. Discovery of fecal microbial signatures in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Arch Rheumatol 2023;38(2):217-229. doi: 10.46497/ArchRheumatol.2023.9124.

Ethics Committee Approval

The study protocol was approved by the Quanzhou OrthopedicsTraumatological Hospital Ethics Committee (no: 2019-11). The study was conducted in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.

Author Contributions

Contributed equally to this work: W.Z., Y.Y.; Contributed to the conception and design of the study: J.L., Y.Y., W.Z.; Material preparation and analysis were performed: Y.Y., M.C.; Data collection and diagnosis were performed: M.C., Q.G., Y.C., W.Z., J.W.; The first draft of the manuscript was written: Y.Y., W.Z.; All authors commented on the previous versions of the manuscript and read and approved the final manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The work was supported by grants from the Health and Family Planning Youth Scientific Research Program of Fujian Province in 2018 (Grant number: 2018-1-96) and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (grant number: 2022M711348).


We thank the patients and feces donors who participated in our study. We also thank our lab mates from JunSheng Youth Research Group for their valuable advice and help with the experiments.

Data Sharing Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.