The association between disease severity and microbiome in chronic rhinosinusitis

Darren Rom*, Ahmed Bassiouni, Elizabeth Eykman, Zhixin Liu, Sathish Paramasivan, Raquel Alvarado, Peter Earls, Alkis J. Psaltis, Richard J. Harvey

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: The role of the microbiome in the etiology of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is still in debate. Reductions in richness and diversity have been implicated in CRS; however, limited knowledge exists regarding the impact of the severity of disease on the microbiome. The associations between constituents of the microbiome and the degree of mucosal inflammation and tissue eosinophilia are described. Methods: A cross-sectional study of CRS and non-CRS patients who underwent endoscopic sinus surgery was performed. Sinus mucosal biopsies were assessed for the degree of inflammation and tissue eosinophilia. Middle-meatal swabs were subjected to 16S rRNA gene sequencing, which quantified the prevalence, mean relative abundance, richness, and diversity. Comparisons between the microbiome at the genus level and degree of inflammation (absent, mild, moderate, severe) and tissue eosinophilia (absent, < 10, 10–100, > 100 per high-powered field) were performed. Results: Eight-nine patients (52.8 ± 14.21 years, 64.0% male) were assessed. Of those, 52 had CRS and 37 were controls. Corynebacterium and Staphylococcus were the most abundant genera in both the CRS (29% and 16%) and non-CRS groups (40% and 20%). Richness decreased in more severely inflamed patients (23.2 ± 13.9 vs. 18.1 ± 16.1 vs. 16.8 ± 12.3 vs. 14.7 ± 10.9; P < 0.01), as did diversity (1.4 ± 0.7 vs. 1.2 ± 1.0 vs. 1.2 ± 0.8 vs. 0.9 ± 0.7; P = 0.05). Richness was associated with higher tissue eosinophilia (23.2 ± 13.9 vs. 19.3 ± 17.2 vs. 15.9 ± 11.6 vs. 13.4 ± 6.6; P < 0.01). Conclusion: The loss of richness and diversity seen in the CRS microbiome appears to be a product of severity of inflammation and tissue eosinophilia. Whether this dysbiosis is causative or a result of the disease with impaired epithelial integrity requires ongoing research. Level of Evidence: 4.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1265-1273
    Number of pages9
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


    • microbiome
    • richness
    • Sinus
    • tissue eosinophilia


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