Research ArticleMicrobiome

Sinus Microbiome Diversity Depletion and Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum Enrichment Mediates Rhinosinusitis

Science Translational Medicine  12 Sep 2012:
Vol. 4, Issue 151, pp. 151ra124
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003783

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Nosing in on Chronic Sinusitis

If the frequency of ads for sinus-clearing drugs tells us anything, sinusitis is a widespread problem that directly affects an individual’s quality of life. Indeed, chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), which is defined as sinusitis lasting longer than 12 weeks, affects more than 30 million Americans. CRS is characterized by persistent mucosal inflammation and microbial infection, which can be expected to perturb the mucosal microbiota; however, the contribution of sinus microbiota to CRS remains unclear. Now, Abreu et al. identify both a potential pathogenic species that is more prevalent in CRS patients than in healthy controls as well as a bacterial candidate that may protect against this pathogenic species.

The authors performed comparative microbiome profiling of patients with CRS and healthy controls. They found reduced bacterial diversity in the CRS patients, with specific depletion of lactic acid bacteria and a relative increase in Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum. In a murine model, C. tuberculostearicum contributed to the development of sinusitis in the absence of a normal microbiota. Moreover, Lactobacillus sakei was sufficient to protect against C. tuberculostearicum–induced sinusitis, even when the microbiome was depleted. If these effects are consistent in humans, L. sakei may serve as a new therapeutic for CRS.