High-throughput sequencing of 16S rDNA amplicons characterizes bacterial composition in cerebrospinal fluid samples from patients with purulent meningitis

Aicui Liu, Chao Wang, Zhijuan Liang, Zhi Wei Zhou, Lin Wang, Qiaoli Ma, Guowei Wang, Shu Feng Zhou, Zhenhai Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purulent meningitis (PM) is a severe infectious disease that is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. It has been recognized that bacterial infection is a major contributing factor to the pathogenesis of PM. However, there is a lack of information on the bacterial composition in PM, due to the low positive rate of cerebrospinal fluid bacterial culture. Herein, we aimed to discriminate and identify the main pathogens and bacterial composition in cerebrospinal fluid sample from PM patients using high-throughput sequencing approach. The cerebrospinal fluid samples were collected from 26 PM patients, and were determined as culture-negative samples. The polymerase chain reaction products of the hypervariable regions of 16S rDNA gene in these 26 samples of PM were sequenced using the 454 GS FLX system. The results showed that there were 71,440 pyrosequencing reads, of which, the predominant phyla were Proteobacteria and Firmicutes; and the predominant genera were Streptococcus, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, and Neisseria. The bacterial species in the cerebrospinal fluid were complex, with 61.5% of the samples presenting with mixed pathogens. A significant number of bacteria belonging to a known pathogenic potential was observed. The number of operational taxonomic units for individual samples ranged from six to 75 and there was a comparable difference in the species diversity that was calculated through alpha and beta diversity analysis. Collectively, the data show that high-throughput sequencing approach facilitates the characterization of the pathogens in cerebrospinal fluid and determine the abundance and the composition of bacteria in the cerebrospinal fluid samples of the PM patients, which may provide a better understanding of pathogens in PM and assist clinicians to make rational and effective therapeutic decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4417-4429
Number of pages13
JournalDrug Design, Development and Therapy
StatePublished - Aug 7 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioinformatics
  • Cerebrospinal fluid sample
  • OTU

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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