The gut microbiome in konzo

Matthew S. Bramble, Neerja Vashist, Arthur Ko, Sambhawa Priya, Céleste Musasa, Alban Mathieu, D’ Andre Spencer, Michel Lupamba Kasendue, Patrick Mamona Dilufwasayo, Kevin Karume, Joanna Nsibu, Hans Manya, Mary N.A. Uy, Brian Colwell, Michael Boivin, J. P.Banae Mayambu, Daniel Okitundu, Arnaud Droit, Dieudonné Mumba Ngoyi, Ran BlekhmanDesire Tshala-Katumbay, Eric Vilain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Konzo, a distinct upper motor neuron disease associated with a cyanogenic diet and chronic malnutrition, predominately affects children and women of childbearing age in sub-Saharan Africa. While the exact biological mechanisms that cause this disease have largely remained elusive, host-genetics and environmental components such as the gut microbiome have been implicated. Using a large study population of 180 individuals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where konzo is most frequent, we investigate how the structure of the gut microbiome varied across geographical contexts, as well as provide the first insight into the gut flora of children affected with this debilitating disease using shotgun metagenomic sequencing. Our findings indicate that the gut microbiome structure is highly variable depending on region of sampling, but most interestingly, we identify unique enrichments of bacterial species and functional pathways that potentially modulate the susceptibility of konzo in prone regions of the Congo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5371
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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