To test the hypothesis that narcolepsy type 1 (NT1) is related to the gut microbiota, we compared the microbiota bacterial communities of patients with NT1 and control subjects.
Thirty-five patients with NT1 (51.43% women, mean age 38.29 ± 19.98 years) and 41 controls (57.14% women, mean age 36.14 ± 12.68 years) were included. Stool samples were collected, and the fecal microbiota bacterial communities were compared between patients and controls using the well-standardized 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing approach. We studied alpha and beta diversity and differential abundance analysis between patients and controls, and between subgroups of patients with NT1.
We found no between-group differences for alpha diversity, but we discovered in NT1 a link with NT1 disease duration. We highlighted differences in the global bacterial community structure as assessed by beta diversity metrics even after adjustments for potential confounders as body mass index (BMI), often increased in NT1. Our results revealed differential abundance of several operational taxonomic units within Bacteroidetes, Bacteroides, and Flavonifractor between patients and controls, but not after adjusting for BMI.
We provide evidence of gut microbial community structure alterations in NT1. However, further larger and longitudinal multiomics studies are required to replicate and elucidate the relationship between the gut microbiota, immunity dysregulation and NT1.