Dysbiosis of the salivary microbiota in pediatric-onset primary sclerosing cholangitis and its potential as a biomarker

Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 3;8(1):5480. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-23870-w.


Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a liver disease known for its frequent concurrence with inflammatory bowel disease. Dysbiosis of the gut microbiota in PSC was reported in several studies, but the microbiological features of the salivary microbiota in PSC have not been established. Here we compared the salivary microbial communities of 24 pediatric-onset PSC patients, 16 age-matched ulcerative colitis (UC) patients, and 24 healthy controls (HCs) by analyzing the bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequence data. The species-richness (α-diversity) showed no significant between-group differences, whereas the overall salivary microbiota structure (β-diversity) showed significant differences among the three groups. Taxonomic assignment revealed that the PSC salivary microbiota were characterized by significant decreases in the abundance of Rothia and Haemophilus compared to the HC group, and significantly decreased Haemophilus and increased Oribacterium compared to the UC group. By combining the genera selected by the random forest algorithm in machine learning, followed by confirmation with 10-fold cross-validation, we were able to distinguish the PSC group from the HC group with the area under the curve (AUC) of 0.7423, and from the UC group with the AUC of 0.8756. Our results indicate the potential of salivary microbiota as biomarkers for a noninvasive diagnosis of PSC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / complications*
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / microbiology*
  • Dysbiosis / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Saliva / microbiology*


  • Biomarkers
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S