Background: It is clear that specific intestinal bacteria are involved in the development of different premalignant conditions along the gastrointestinal tract. An analysis of the microbial constituents in the context of pancreatic cystic lesions has, however, as yet not been performed. This consideration prompted us to explore whether endoscopically obtained pancreatic cyst fluids (PCF) contain bacterial DNA and to determine the genera of bacteria present in such material.
Methods: Total DNA was isolated from 69 PCF samples. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene-specific PCR was performed followed by Sanger sequencing and de novo deep sequencing for the V3-V4 variable region of 16S rRNA gene.
Results: We observed that 98.2% of the samples were positive in conventional PCR, and that 100% of selected PCF samples (n = 33) were positive for bacterial microbiota as determined by next generation sequencing (NGS). Comprehensive NGS data analysis of PCF showed the presence of 408 genera of bacteria, of which 17 bacterial genera were uniquely abundant to PCF, when compared to the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) database and 15 bacterial microbiota were uniquely abundant in HMP only. Bacteroides spp., Escherichia/Shigella spp., and Acidaminococcus spp. which were predominant in PCF, while also a substantial Staphylococcus spp. and Fusobacterium spp. component was detected.
Conclusion: These results reveal and characterize an apparently specific bacterial ecosystem in pancreatic cyst fluid samples and may reflect the local microbiota in the pancreas. Some taxa with potential deleterious functions are present in the bacterial abundance profiles, suggesting that the unique microbiome in this specific niche may contribute to neoplastic processes in the pancreas. Further studies are needed to explore the intricate relationship between pathophysiological status in the host pancreas and its microbiota.
Keywords: 16S rRNA gene; Bacterial translocation; Cystic tumors; Fusobacterium spp.; Human Microbiome Project; NGS; Pancreatic cyst fluid.