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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Respiratory Research 1/2017

High throughput 16SrRNA gene sequencing reveals the correlation between Propionibacterium acnes and sarcoidosis

Respiratory Research > Ausgabe 1/2017
Meng-Meng Zhao, Shan-Shan Du, Qiu-Hong Li, Tao Chen, Hui Qiu, Qin Wu, Shan-Shan Chen, Ying Zhou, Yuan Zhang, Yang Hu, Yi-Liang Su, Li Shen, Fen Zhang, Dong Weng, Hui-Ping Li
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12931-017-0515-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



This study aims to use high throughput 16SrRNA gene sequencing to examine the bacterial profile of lymph node biopsy samples of patients with sarcoidosis and to further verify the association between Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) and sarcoidosis.


A total of 36 mediastinal lymph node biopsy specimens were collected from 17 cases of sarcoidosis, 8 tuberculosis (TB group), and 11 non-infectious lung diseases (control group). The V4 region of the bacterial 16SrRNA gene in the specimens was amplified and sequenced using the high throughput sequencing platform MiSeq, and bacterial profile was established. The data analysis software QIIME and Metastats were used to compare bacterial relative abundance in the three patient groups.


Overall, 545 genera were identified; 38 showed significantly lower and 29 had significantly higher relative abundance in the sarcoidosis group than in the TB and control groups (P < 0.01). P. acnes 16SrRNA was exclusively found in all the 17 samples of the sarcoidosis group, whereas was not detected in the TB and control groups. The relative abundance of P. acnes in the sarcoidosis group (0.16% ± 0. 11%) was significantly higher than that in the TB (Metastats analysis: P = 0.0010, q = 0.0044) and control groups (Metastats analysis: P = 0.0010, q = 0.0038). The relative abundance of P. granulosum was only 0.0022% ± 0. 0044% in the sarcoidosis group. P. granulosum 16SrRNA was not detected in the other two groups.


High throughput 16SrRNA gene sequencing appears to be a useful tool to investigate the bacterial profile of sarcoidosis specimens. The results suggest that P. acnes may be involved in sarcoidosis development.
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