Oral Oral bacteria relative abundance in faeces increases due to gut microbiota depletion and is linked with patient outcomes (May 2024)

Michael Harrop

Active member
Jul 6, 2023


The detection of oral bacteria in faecal samples has been associated with inflammation and intestinal diseases. The increased relative abundance of oral bacteria in faeces has two competing explanations: either oral bacteria invade the gut ecosystem and expand (the ‘expansion’ hypothesis), or oral bacteria transit through the gut and their relative increase marks the depletion of other gut bacteria (the ‘marker’ hypothesis).

Here we collected oral and faecal samples from mouse models of gut dysbiosis (antibiotic treatment and DSS-induced colitis) and used 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing to determine the abundance dynamics of oral bacteria. We found that the relative, but not absolute, abundance of oral bacteria increases, reflecting the ‘marker’ hypothesis. Faecal microbiome datasets from diverse patient cohorts, including healthy individuals and patients with allogeneic haematopoietic cell transplantation or inflammatory bowel disease, consistently support the ‘marker’ hypothesis and explain associations between oral bacterial abundance and patient outcomes consistent with depleted gut microbiota.

By distinguishing between the two hypotheses, our study guides the interpretation of microbiome compositional data and could potentially identify cases where therapies are needed to rebuild the resident microbiome rather than protect against invading oral bacteria.

A useful addition to the "Does the oral microbiome colonize the gut?" question.
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