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Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 18;6:23561. doi: 10.1038/srep23561.

Altered Mucosal Microbiome Diversity and Disease Severity in Sjögren Syndrome.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
Biological Sciences, Allergan, Irvine, CA, USA.
Sjogren Syndrome Support Group, Houston, TX, USA.
Dental Branch, Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC), Houston, TX, USA.
Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research, Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.


There is mounting evidence that the microbiome has potent immunoregulatory functions. We assessed the effects of intestinal dysbiosis in a model of Sjögren syndrome (SS) by subjecting mice to desiccating stress (DS) and antibiotics (ABX). We characterized the conjunctival, tongue and fecal microbiome profiles of patients with SS. Severity of ocular surface and systemic disease was graded. 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing characterized the microbiota. ABX + DS mice had a significantly worse dry eye phenotype compared to controls, a decrease in Clostridium and an increase in Enterobacter, Escherichia/Shigella, and Pseudomonas in stool after ABX + DS for 10 days. Goblet cell density was significantly lower in ABX treated groups compared to controls. Stool from SS subjects had greater relative abundances of Pseudobutyrivibrio, Escherichia/Shigella, Blautia, and Streptococcus, while relative abundance of Bacteroides, Parabacteroides, Faecalibacterium, and Prevotella was reduced compared to controls. The severity of SS ocular and systemic disease was inversely correlated with microbial diversity. These findings suggest that SS is marked by a dysbiotic intestinal microbiome driven by low relative abundance of commensal bacteria and high relative abundance of potentially pathogenic genera that is associated with worse ocular mucosal disease in a mouse model of SS and in SS patients.

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