Gut dysbiosis in ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid

Liying Low, Kusy Suleiman, Mohith Shamdas, Kerolos Bassilious, Natraj Poonit, Amanda E. Rossiter, Animesh Acharjee, Nicholas Loman, Philip I. Murray, Graham R. Wallace, Saaeha Rauz

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Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid is an orphan multi-system autoimmune scarring disease involving mucosal sites, including the ocular surface (OcMMP) and gut. Loss of tolerance to epithelial basement membrane proteins and generation of autoreactive T cell and/or autoantibodies are central to the disease process. The gut microbiome plays a critical role in the development of the immune system. Alteration in the gut microbiome (gut dysbiosis) affects the generation of autoreactive T cells and B cell autoantibody repertoire in several autoimmune conditions. This study examines the relationship between gut microbiome diversity and ocular inflammation in patients with OcMMP by comparing OcMMP gut microbiome profiles with healthy controls. DNA was extracted from faecal samples (49 OcMMP patients, 40 healthy controls), amplified for the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene and sequenced using Illumina Miseq platform. Sequencing reads were processed using the bioinformatics pipeline available in the mothur v.1.44.1 software. After adjusting for participant factors in the multivariable model (age, gender, BMI, diet, proton pump inhibitor use), OcMMP cohort was found to be associated with lower number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and Shannon Diversity Index when compared to healthy controls. Within the OcMMP cohort, the number of OTUs were found to be significantly correlated with both the bulbar conjunctival inflammation score (p=0.03) and the current use of systemic immunotherapy (p=0.02). The linear discriminant analysis effect size scores indicated that Streptococcus and Lachnoclostridium were enriched in OcMMP patients whilst Oxalobacter, Clostridia uncultured genus-level group (UCG) 014, Christensenellaceae R-7 group and butyrate-producing bacteria such as Ruminococcus, Lachnospiraceae, Coprococcus, Roseburia, Oscillospiraceae UCG 003, 005, NK4A214 group were enriched in healthy controls (Log10 LDA score < 2, FDR-adjusted p <0.05). In conclusion, OcMMP patients have gut dysbiosis correlating with bulbar conjunctival inflammation and the use of systemic immunotherapies. This provides a framework for future longitudinal deep phenotyping studies on the role of the gut microbiome in the pathogenesis of OcMMP.
Original languageEnglish
Article number780354
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in cellular and infection microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
LL is funded through a Fight for Sight Clinical Research Fellowship (Ref 1840/1841) and a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Lectureship.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Low, Suleiman, Shamdas, Bassilious, Poonit, Rossiter, Acharjee, Loman, Murray, Wallace and Rauz.


  • ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid (OcMMP)
  • gut microbiome
  • inflammation
  • eye
  • 16S sequencing


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