Variations in the oral microbiome are associated with depression in young adults

Benjamin Wingfield, Coral Lapsley, Andrew McDowell, Georgios Miliotis, Margaret Mc Lafferty, Siobhan O'Neill, Sonya Coleman, T.Martin McGinnity, AJ Bjourson, EK Murray

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43 Citations (Scopus)
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A growing body of evidence supports an important role for alterations in the brain-gut-microbiome axis in the aetiology of depression and other psychiatric disorders. The potential role of the oral microbiome in mental health has received little attention, even though it is one of the most diverse microbiomes in the body and oral dysbiosis has been linked to systemic diseases with an underlying inflammatory aetiology. This study examines the structure and composition of the salivary microbiome for the first time in young adults who met the DSM-IV criteria for depression (n = 40) and matched controls (n = 43) using 16S rRNA gene-based next generation sequencing. Subtle but significant differences in alpha and beta diversity of the salivary microbiome were observed, with clear separation of depressed and healthy control cohorts into distinct clusters. A total of 21 bacterial taxa were found to be differentially abundant in the depressed cohort, including increased Neisseria spp. and Prevotella nigrescens, while 19 taxa had a decreased abundance. In this preliminary study we have shown that the composition of the oral microbiome is associated with depression in young adults. Further studies are now warranted, particularly investigations into whether such shifts play any role in the underling aetiology of depression.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15009 (2021)
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 22 Jul 2021

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  • Microbiome
  • depression
  • young adults
  • saliva


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