Alterations of the gut microbiome in chronic hepatitis B virus infection associated with alanine aminotransferase level

Yeojun Yun, Yoosoo Chang, Han Na Kim, Seungho Ryu, Min Jung Kwon, Yong Kyun Cho, Hyung Lae Kim, Hae Suk Cheong, Eun Jeong Joo

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27 Scopus citations


The changes in the gut microbiota of healthy hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers, including asymptomatic and non-cirrhotic subjects, have been rarely scrutinized. From 1463 faecal samples in health examinees, in total 112 subjects, including 36 hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive and 76 control subjects, were included. Twenty-eight of 36 HBsAg-positive individuals (78%) showed normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels (normal ALT group), whereas eight subjects exhibited elevated ALT levels (22%, high ALT group). By using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the distance between normal and high ALT groups among HBsAg-positive subjects showed a significant separation after the pairwise comparison of weighted UniFrac distance (permutational analysis of variance q-value = 0.039), when compared with the distances to the control group. In comparison with the control group, the normal ALT group had Anaerostipes as a significant taxon that showed a positive association (Coefficient (Coef.) = 0.028, q = 0.039). Desulfovibrio (Coef. = 0.54, q = 0.014) and Megasphaera (Coef. = 1.41, q = 0.030) showed positive correlations, and Acidaminococcus (Coef. = −1.31, q = 4.15 × 10−75) exhibited a negative correlation with high ALT level. Gut microbial composition was different according to HBV-induced serum ALT levels, indicative of a potential link between gut and liver metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number173
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Gut microbiome
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Megasphaera


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