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Dryness of epithelial surfaces is characteristic for patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS). Vaginal dryness is frequently reported by pSS-women and is associated with sexual dysfunction.1 2 Recently, we showed that dysbiosis of the oral microbiome is largely similar between oral dryness patients with and without pSS when compared with healthy controls.3 4 The objective of our current study was to assess whether the vaginal microbiome of women with pSS-associated vaginal dryness differs from controls.
In a case-control design, we compared the vaginal microbiome of 10 premenopausal pSS-women with that of 10 age-matched premenopausal women without pSS, who underwent general anaesthesia for a laparoscopic procedure. Exclusion criteria were genital inflammatory or infectious comorbidity, endometriosis and use of disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, corticosteroids, vaginal oestrogens or an intrauterine contraceptive device. All patients with pSS fulfilled the 2016 ACR/EULAR classification criteria. All participants completed a questionnaire on vaginal symptoms. Patient-reported vaginal dryness was scored using a Numeric Rating Scale (NRS, range 0–10). Vaginal health was assessed with the Vaginal Health Index (VHI).5 From all participants, a cervicovaginal lavage (CVL) and endocervical swab (ES) were collected. DNA from all samples was …
Handling editor Josef S Smolen
Contributors TAvdM designed the study, analysed all data (clinical and microbiome) and wrote the manuscript. JFvN designed the study, recruited the patients, did the study logistics and reviewed the manuscript. HJMH performed the 16S rRNA sequencing and reviewed the manuscript. SCL performed the DNA isolation and reviewed the manuscript. KvdT and MJEM performed the vaginal health scoring, collected the samples and reviewed the manuscript. MJEM, FGMK, AV and HB helped in the design of the study, interpretation of data and reviewed the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Ethics approval The Medical Ethical Committee of the UMCG, Groningen, the Netherlands.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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