Background: Autoimmune diseases have been associated with changes in the gut microbiome. In this study, the gut microbiome was evaluated in individuals with dry eye and bacterial compositions were correlated to dry eye (DE) measures. We prospectively included 13 individuals with who met full criteria for Sjögren's (SDE) and 8 individuals with features of Sjögren's but who did not meet full criteria (NDE) for a total of 21 cases as compared to 21 healthy controls. Stool was analyzed by 16S pyrosequencing, and associations between bacterial classes and DE symptoms and signs were examined. Results: Results showed that Firmicutes was the dominant phylum in the gut, comprising 40-60% of all phyla. On a phyla level, subjects with DE (SDE and NDE) had depletion of Firmicutes (1.1-fold) and an expansion of Proteobacteria (3.0-fold), Actinobacteria (1.7-fold), and Bacteroidetes (1.3-fold) compared to controls. Shannon's diversity index showed no differences between groups with respect to the numbers of different operational taxonomic units (OTUs) encountered (diversity) and the instances these unique OTUs were sampled (evenness). On the other hand, Faith's phylogenetic diversity showed increased diversity in cases vs controls, which reached significance when comparing SDE and controls (13.57 ± 0.89 and 10.96 ± 0.76, p = 0.02). Using Principle Co-ordinate Analysis, qualitative differences in microbial composition were noted with differential clustering of cases and controls. Dimensionality reduction and clustering of complex microbial data further showed differences between the three groups, with regard to microbial composition, association and clustering. Finally, differences in certain classes of bacteria were associated with DE symptoms and signs. Conclusions: In conclusion, individuals with DE had gut microbiome alterations as compared to healthy controls. Certain classes of bacteria were associated with DE measures.
- Dry eye
- Gut microbiome
- Sjögren's syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology