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Sociodemographic patterning in the oral microbiome of a diverse sample of New Yorkers

By Audrey Renson, Heidi E. Jones, Francesco Beghini, Nicola Segata, Stephen E. Harris, Mykhaylo Usyk, Thomas U. Moody, Lorna E. Thorpe, Robert Burk, Levi Waldron, Jennifer B. Dowd

Posted 18 Sep 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/189225

Background: Variations in the human oral microbiome are potentially implicated in health inequalities, but existing studies of the oral microbiome have minimal sociodemographic diversity. This study describes sociodemographic variation of the oral microbiome in a diverse sample of New York City residents. Methods: Data come from 296 participants, a subsample of the 2013-14 population-based New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NYC-HANES). Mouthwash samples were processed using using 16S v4 rRNA amplicon sequencing. We examined differential abundance of 216 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), in addition to alpha and beta diversity amongst sociodemographic variables including age, gender, income, education, nativity, and race/ethnicity. Results: A total of 75 OTUs were differentially abundant by any sociodemographic variable (false discovery rate < 0.01), including 27 by race/ethnicity, 23 by family income, 20 by education, and five by gender. Genera differing for more than one sociodemographic characteristic included Lactobacillus, Prevotella, Porphyromonas, and Fusobacterium. Education (p=0.03) and age (p=0.02) were associated with weighted UniFrac distances. Discussion: In a diverse sample, we identified variations in the oral microbiome consistent with health inequalities. Further investigation is warranted into possible mediating effects of the oral microbiome in social disparities in diabetes, inflammation, oral health, and preterm birth.

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