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Normal vaginal microbiome in women with primary Sjögren’s syndrome-associated vaginal dryness
  1. Taco A van der Meulen1,
  2. Jolien F van Nimwegen2,
  3. Hermie J M Harmsen3,
  4. Silvia C Liefers2,
  5. Karin van der Tuuk4,
  6. Frans G M Kroese2,
  7. Marian J E Mourits4,
  8. Arjan Vissink1,
  9. Hendrika Bootsma2
  1. 1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Department of Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  3. 3 Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  4. 4 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Taco A van der Meulen, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University Medical Center Groningen, PO 30.3001, 9700 RB, Groningen, The Netherlands; t.a.van.der.meulen{at}umcg.nl

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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 …

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