Alterations to the gut microbiome after sport-related concussion in a collegiate football players cohort: A pilot study

Sirena Soriano, Kristen Curry, Saeed S. Sadrameli, Qi Wang, Michael Nute, Elizabeth Reeves, Rasadul Kabir, Jonathan Wiese, Amber Criswell, Sarah Schodrof, Gavin W. Britz, Rajan Gadhia, Kenneth Podell, Todd Treangen, Sonia Villapol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Concussions, both single and repetitive, cause brain and body alterations in athletes during contact sports. The role of the brain-gut connection and changes in the microbiota have not been well established after sports-related concussions or repetitive subconcussive impacts. We recruited 33 Division I Collegiate football players and collected blood, stool, and saliva samples at three time points throughout the athletic season: mid-season, following the last competitive game (post-season), and after a resting period in the off-season. Additional samples were collected from four athletes that suffered from a concussion. 16S rRNA sequencing of the gut microbiome revealed a decrease in abundance for two bacterial species, Eubacterium rectale, and Anaerostipes hadrus, after a diagnosed concussion. No significant differences were found regarding the salivary microbiome. Serum biomarker analysis shows an increase in GFAP blood levels in athletes during the competitive season. Additionally, S100β and SAA blood levels were positively correlated with the abundance of Eubacterium rectale species among the group of athletes that did not suffer a diagnosed concussion during the sports season. These findings provide initial evidence that detecting changes in the gut microbiome may help to improve concussion diagnosis following head injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100438
JournalBrain, behavior, & immunity - health
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Biomarkers
  • Brain-gut axis
  • Microbiota
  • Mild traumatic brain injury
  • Neuroinflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Alterations to the gut microbiome after sport-related concussion in a collegiate football players cohort: A pilot study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this