Santos-Cortez RP, Hutchinson DS, Ajami N, Reyes-Quintos MT, Tantoco MC, Labra P, Lagrana S, Pedro M, Llanes E, Gloria-Cruz T, Chan A, Cutiongco-de la Paz E, Belmont J, Chonmaitree T, Abes G, Petrosino J, Leal S and Chiong C


Previously rare A2ML1 variants were identified to confer otitis media susceptibility in an indigenous Filipino community and in otitis-prone US children. The goal of this study is to describe differences in the middle ear microbiome between carriers and non-carriers of an A2ML1 duplication variant that increases risk for chronic otitis media among indigenous Filipinos with poor health care access. Ear swabs were obtained from 16 indigenous Filipino individuals with chronic otitis media, of whom 11 carry the A2ML1 duplication variant. Ear swabs were submitted for 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Genotype-based differences in microbial richness, structure, and composition were identified, but were not statistically significant. Taxonomic analysis revealed that the relative abundance of the phyla Fusobacteria and Bacteroidetes, and genus Fusobacterium were nominally increased in carriers compared to non-carriers, but were non-significant after correction for multiple testing. We also detected rare bacteria including Oligella that was reported only once in the middle ear. These findings suggest that A2ML1-related otitis media susceptibility may be mediated by changes in the middle ear microbiome. Knowledge of middle ear microbial profiles according to genetic background can be potentially useful for therapeutic and prophylactic interventions for otitis media and can guide public health interventions towards decreasing otitis media prevalence within the indigenous Filipino community.

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