The Oral Microbiome of Patients With Axial Spondyloarthritis Compared to Healthy Individuals
Background. A loss of mucosal tolerance to the resident microbiome has been postulated in the aetiopathogenesis of spondyloarthritis, thus the purpose of these studies was to investigate microbial communities that colonise the oral cavity of patients with axial spondyloarthritis (AxSpA) and to compare these with microbial profiles of a matched healthy population. Methods. Thirty-nine participants, 17 patients with AxSpA and 22 age and gender- matched disease-free controls were recruited to the study. For patients with AxSpA, disease activity was assessed using the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI). All participants underwent a detailed dental examination to assess oral health, including the presence of periodontal disease assessed using probing pocket depth (PPD). Plaque samples were obtained and their bacterial populations were profiled using Ion Torrent sequencing of the V6 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Results. Patients with AxSpA had active disease (BASDAI 4.1±2.1 [mean±SD]), and a significantly greater prevalence of periodontitis (PPD ≥ 4 mm at ≥ 4 sites) than controls. Bacterial communities did not differ between the two groups with multiple metrics of α and β diversity considered. Analysis of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and higher levels of taxonomic assignment did not provide strong evidence of any single taxa associated with AxSpA in the subgingival plaque. Discussion. Although 16S rRNA gene sequencing did not identify specific bacterial profiles associated with AxSpA, there remains the potential for the microbiota to exert functional and metabolic influences in the oral cavity which could be involved in the pathogenesis of AxSpA.