Equine sinusitis aetiology is linked to sinus microbiome by amplicon sequencing

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Background: Information regarding the microbiome in sinusitis using genetic sequencing is lacking and more-in-depth understanding of the microbiome could improve antimicrobial selection and treatment outcomes for cases of primary sinusitis. Objectives: To describe sinus microbiota in samples from horses with sinusitis and compare microbiota and the presence of antimicrobial resistance genes between primary, dental-related and other secondary causes of sinusitis. Study design: Retrospective case series. Methods Records of equine sinusitis from 2017 to 2021 were reviewed and historical microbial amplicon sequence data were obtained from clinical diagnostic testing of sinus secretions. Following bioinformatic processing of bacterial and fungal sequence data, the sinus microbiota and importance of sinusitis aetiology among other factors were investigated from the perspectives of alpha diversity (e.g., number of operational taxonomic units [OTUs], Hill1 Diversity), beta diversity, and differentially abundant taxa. Quantitative PCR allowed for comparisons of estimated bacterial abundance and detection rate of common antibiotic resistance-associated genes. In a smaller subset, longitudinal analysis was performed to evaluate similarity in samples over time. Results: Of 81 samples analysed from 70 horses, the bacterial microbiome was characterised in 66, and fungal in five. Only sinusitis aetiology was shown to significantly influence microbiome diversity and composition (p < 0.05). Dental-related sinusitis (n = 44) was associated with a significantly higher proportion of obligate anaerobic bacteria, whereas primary sinusitis (n = 12) and other (n = 10) groups were associated with fewer bacteria and higher proportions of facultative anaerobic and aerobic genera. Antimicrobial resistance genes and fungal components were exclusively identified in dental-related sinusitis. Main limitations: Retrospective nature, incomplete prior antimicrobial administration data. Conclusions: Molecular characterisation in sinusitis identifies microbial species which may be difficult to isolate via culture, and microbiome profiling can differentiate sinusitis aetiology, which may inform further treatment, including antimicrobial therapy.

antimicrobial resistance genes, horse, microbiome, molecular sequencing, sinusitis