Haihong Huang, Jiawei Shi, Minghui Zheng, Shenghui Su, Weidong Chen, Jing Ming, Tao Ren, Dongbin Qu

May 2023, pp 1 - 9 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-023-07707-3

First Online: 26 May 2023


The aim is to compare the pathogen detection performance of metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) and the culturing of percutaneous needle biopsy samples obtained from an individual with a suspected spinal infection.


A retrospective study of 141 individuals with a suspected spinal infection was conducted, and mNGS was performed. The microbial spectra and detection performance between mNGS and the culturing-based method were compared, and the effects of antibiotic intervention and biopsy on the detection performance were assessed.


The microorganisms isolated most commonly via the culturing-based method were Mycobacterium tuberculosis (n = 21), followed by Staphylococcus epidermidis (n = 13). The most common microorganisms detected via mNGS were Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) (n = 39), followed by Staphylococcus aureus (n = 15). The difference in the type of detected microorganisms between culturing and mNGS was observed only in Mycobacterium (P = 0.001). mNGS helped identify potential pathogens in 80.9% of cases, which was significantly higher than the positivity rate of 59.6% observed for the culturing-based method (P 


The use of mNGS could result in a higher detection rate compared to that observed with the culturing-based method in an individual with spinal infection and is particularly valuable for evaluating the effects of a mycobacterial infection or previous antibiotic intervention.

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