medwireNews: Having the right bacteria present in a person's sinuses might be key to preventing chronic sinusitis, say researchers.
Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, the team found that the microbial communities present in the sinuses of people with chronic sinusitis and healthy controls differed significantly.
Sinusitis sufferers had a significantly greater proportion of Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum than controls. Conversely, healthy individuals appeared to have a greater number of Lactobacillus sakei than sinusitis patients, which appeared to convey a protective effect.
"Presumably these are sinus-protective species," commented study author Susan Lynch (University of California, San Francisco, USA) in a press statement.
Lynch and colleagues recruited 10 patients with chronic sinusitis and 10 healthy controls to assess the composition of their sinus microbial communities.
The researchers used comparative microbiome profiling to determine the species and proportions of bacteria present in the sinuses of the participants.
The chronic sinusitis patients had significantly reduced microbial diversity compared with the controls. In particular there was a notable decline in the numbers of multiple, phylogenetically distinct lactic acid bacteria and a notable increase in the abundance of C. tuberculostearicum.
Using a murine model, the researchers confirmed the pathogenic potential of C. tuberculostearicum and showed that L. sakei, which was present in significantly higher numbers in people without sinusitis, is able to defend against sinus infection with C. tuberculostearicum, even if other bacteria are depleted.
Sinusitis can be a difficult condition to treat, with antibiotics commonly prescribed and sometimes even surgery. However, co-author Andrew Goldberg, also from the University of California, commented "the premise for our understanding of chronic sinusitis and therapeutic treatment appears to be wrong, and a different therapeutic strategy seems appropriate."
Our results "demonstrate that sinus mucosal health is highly dependent on the composition of the resident microbiota as well as identify both a new sinopathogen and a strong bacterial candidate for therapeutic intervention," conclude the authors.
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