Authors: Mirko Manchia, Andrea Fontana, Concetta Panebianco, Pasquale Paribello, Carlo Arzedi, Eleonora Cossu, Mario Garzilli, Maria Antonietta Montis, Andrea Mura, Claudia Pisanu, Donatella Congiu, Massimiliano Copetti, Federica Pinna, Valerio Pazienza, Alessio Squassina and Bernardo Carpiniello


  • Unit of Psychiatry, Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, 09127 Cagliari, Italy
  • Unit of Clinical Psychiatry, University Hospital Agency of Cagliari, 09127 Cagliari, Italy
  • Department of Pharmacology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H4R2, Canada
  • Unit of Biostatistics, Fondazione IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital, 71013 San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
  • Division of Gastroenterology, Fondazione IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital, 71013 San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
  • Unit of Neuroscience and Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of Neuroscience and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Cagliari, 09042 Cagliari, Italy

Publication: Biomedicines

Date: June 2021

Full paper:


The gut microbiota is constituted by more than 40,000 bacterial species involved in key processes including high order brain functions. Altered composition of gut microbiota has been implicated in psychiatric disorders and in modulating the efficacy and safety of psychotropic medications. In this work we characterized the composition of the gut microbiota in 38 patients with schizophrenia (SCZ) and 20 healthy controls (HC), and tested if SCZ patients with different response to antipsychotics (18 patients with treatment resistant schizophrenia (TRS), and 20 responders (R)) had specific patterns of gut microbiota composition associated with different response to antipsychotics. Moreover, we also tested if patients treated with typical antipsychotics (n = 20) presented significant differences when compared to patients treated with atypical antipsychotics (n = 31). Our findings showed the presence of distinct composition of gut microbiota in SCZ versus HC, with several bacteria at the different taxonomic levels only present in either one group or the other. Similar findings were observed also depending on treatment response and exposure to diverse classes of antipsychotics. Our results suggest that composition of gut microbiota could constitute a biosignatures of SCZ and TRS.