Alterations in gut bacterial and fungal microbiomes are associated with bacterial Keratitis, an inflammatory disease of the human eye
Dysbiosis, or imbalance in the gut microbiome, has been implicated in auto-immune, inflammatory, neurological diseasesas well as in cancers. More recently it has also been shown to be associated with ocular diseases. In the present study, theassociation of gut microbiome dysbiosis with bacterial Keratitis, an inflammatory eye disease which significantly contributesto corneal blindness, was investigated. Bacterial and fungal gut microbiomes were analysed using fecal samples ofhealthy controls (HC, n = 21) and bacterial Keratitis patients (BK, n = 19). An increase in abundance of several antiinflammatoryorganisms including Dialister, Megasphaera, Faecalibacterium, Lachnospira, Ruminococcus and Mitsuokellaand members of Firmicutes, Veillonellaceae, Ruminococcaceae and Lachnospiraceae was observed in HCcompared to BK patients in the bacterial microbiome. In the fungal microbiome, a decrease in the abundance of Mortierella,Rhizopus, Kluyveromyces, Embellisia and Haematonectria and an increase in the abundance of pathogenic fungi Aspergillusand Malassezia were observed in BK patients compared to HC. In addition, heatmaps, PCoA plots and inferredfunctional profiles also indicated significant variations between the HC and BK microbiomes, which strongly suggestdysbiosis in the gut microbiome of BK patients. This is the first study demonstrating the association of gut microbiome withthe pathophysiology of BK and thus supports the gut–eye axis hypothesis. Considering that Keratitis affects about 1 millionpeople annually across the globe, the data could be the basis for developing alternate strategies for treatment like use ofprobiotics or fecal transplantation to restore the healthy microbiome as a treatment protocol for Keratitis.
Volume 45, 2020
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