Gut Dysbiosis in Ocular Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2022 Apr 14;12:780354. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2022.780354. eCollection 2022.


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.

Keywords: 16S sequencing; eye; gut microbiome; inflammation; ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid (OcMMP).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clostridiales / genetics
  • Dysbiosis* / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Mucous Membrane
  • Pemphigoid, Bullous*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S