• the Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences


Original Article

Exp Neurobiol 2017; 26(5): 307-317

Published online October 31, 2017

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

Rapid Assessment of Microbiota Changes in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder Using Bacteria-derived Membrane Vesicles in Urine

Yunjin Lee1, Jin-Young Park1, Eun-Hwa Lee1, Jinho Yang2, Bo-Ri Jeong2,Yoon-Keun Kim2, Ju-Young Seoh3, SoHyun Lee4, Pyung-Lim Han1,5* and Eui-Jung Kim6*

1Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, 4Special Education, and 5Chemistry and Nano Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea, 2MD Healthcare Inc., Seoul, Korea; Departments of 3Microbiology and 6Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 07985, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Eui-Jung Kim
TEL: 82-2-2650-5163, FAX: 82-2-2650-0984, e-mail:
Pyung-Lim Han
TEL: 82-2-3277-4130, FAX: 82-2-3277-3419, e-mail:

Received: August 2, 2017; Revised: September 13, 2017; Accepted: September 24, 2017


Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have altered gut microbiota, which appears to regulate ASD symptoms via gut microbiota-brain interactions. Rapid assessment of gut microbiota profiles in ASD individuals in varying physiological contexts is important to understanding the role of the microbiota in regulating ASD symptoms. Microbiomes secrete extracellular membrane vesicles (EVs) to communicate with host cells and secreted EVs are widely distributed throughout the body including the blood and urine. In the present study, we investigated whether bacteria-derived EVs in urine are useful for the metagenome analysis of microbiota in ASD individuals. To address this, bacterial DNA was isolated from bacteria-derived EVs in the urine of ASD individuals. Subsequent metagenome analysis indicated markedly altered microbiota profiles at the levels of the phylum, class, order, family, and genus in ASD individuals relative to control subjects. Microbiota identified from urine EVs included gut microbiota reported in previous studies and their up- and down-regulation in ASD individuals were partially consistent with microbiota profiles previously assessed from ASD fecal samples. However, overall microbiota profiles identified in the present study represented a distinctive microbiota landscape for ASD. Particularly, the occupancy of g_Pseudomonas, g_Sphingomonas, g_Agrobacterium, g_Achromobacter, and g_Roseateles decreased in ASD, whereas g_Streptococcus, g_Akkermansia, g_Rhodococcus, and g_Halomonas increased. These results demonstrate distinctively altered gut microbiota profiles in ASD, and validate the utilization of urine EVs for the rapid assessment of microbiota in ASD.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder, gut microbiota, Extracellular membrane vesicles, Bacteria-derived EVs, urine marker