Baseline Gut Microbiota Composition Is Associated with Major Infections Early after Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

Hemant S. Murthy, Raad Z. Gharaibeh, Zeina Al-Mansour, Andrew Kozlov, Gaurav Trikha, Rachel C. Newsome, Josee Gauthier, Nosha Farhadfar, Yu Wang, Debra Lynch Kelly, John Lybarger, Christian Jobin, Gary P. Wang, John R. Wingard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Gut microbiota (GM) composition and metabolites provide colonization resistance against dominance of potential pathogens, and GM dysbiosis following HCT can be deleterious to immune reconstitution. Little is known about the composition, diversity, and evolution of GM communities in HCT patients and their association with subsequent febrile neutropenia (FN) and infection. Identification of markers before HCT that predict subsequent infection could be useful in developing individualized antimicrobial strategies. Fecal samples were collected prospectively from 33 HCT recipients at serial time points: baseline, post-conditioning regimen, neutropenia onset, FN onset (if present), and hematologic recovery. GM was assessed by 16S rRNA sequencing. FN and major infections (ie, bloodstream infection, typhlitis, invasive fungal infection, pneumonia, and Clostridium difficile enterocolitis) were identified. Significant shifts in GM composition and diversity were observed during HCT, with the largest alterations occurring after initiation of antibiotics. Loss of diversity persisted without a return to baseline at hematologic recovery. GM in patients with FN was enriched in Mogibacterium, Bacteroides fragilis, and Parabacteroides distasonis, whereas increased abundance of Prevotella, Ruminococcus, Dorea, Blautia, and Collinsella was observed in patients without fever. A baseline protective GM profile (BPGMP) was predictive of protection from major infection. The BPGMP was associated with subsequent major infections with 77% accuracy and an area under the curve of 79%, with sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of 0.71, 0.91, 0.77, and 0.87, respectively. Our data show that large shifts in GM composition occur early after HCT, and differences in baseline GM composition are associated with the development of subsequent major infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2001-2010
Number of pages10
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Hematopoietic cell transplantation
  • Infection
  • Microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation


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