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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Salivary mycobiome dysbiosis and its potential impact on bacteriome shifts and host immunity in oral lichen planus


The biodiversity of the mycobiome, an important component of the oral microbial community, and the roles of fungal-bacterial and fungal-immune system interactions in the pathogenesis of oral lichen planus (OLP) remain largely uncharacterized. In this study, we sequenced the salivary mycobiome and bacteriome associated with OLP. First, we described the dysbiosis of the microbiome in OLP patients, which exhibits lower levels of fungi and higher levels of bacteria. Significantly higher abundances of the fungi Candida and Aspergillus in patients with reticular OLP and of Alternaria and Sclerotiniaceae_unidentified in patients with erosive OLP were observed compared to the healthy controls. Aspergillus was identified as an "OLP-associated" fungus because of its detection at a higher frequency than in the healthy controls. Second, the co-occurrence patterns of the salivary mycobiome-bacteriome demonstrated negative associations between specific fungal and bacterial taxa identified in the healthy controls, which diminished in the reticular OLP group and even became positive in the erosive OLP group. Moreover, the oral cavities of OLP patients were colonized by dysbiotic oral flora with lower ecological network complexity and decreased fungal-Firmicutes and increased fungal-Bacteroidetes sub-networks. Third, several keystone fungal genera (Bovista, Erysiphe, Psathyrella, etc.) demonstrated significant correlations with clinical scores and IL-17 levels. Thus, we established that fungal dysbiosis is associated with the aggravation of OLP. Fungal dysbiosis could alter the salivary bacteriome or may reflect a direct effect of host immunity, which participates in OLP pathogenesis.

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