Background and Aims: Changes in the esophageal microbiome have been reported in children with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), but few data exist for adults. We aimed to determine whether the esophageal microbiome differs in adults with and without EoE.

Methods: In a prospective cohort study, adults undergoing outpatient endoscopy were enrolled as incident EoE cases or non-EoE controls. Clinical, endoscopic, and histologic data were collected. An esophageal biopsy was utilized for microbiome analysis. Bacterial DNA was extracted and the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene was amplified and sequenced. Analyses were performed comparing microbiome features for cases and controls, and within cases for disease features, with correction for multiple hypothesis testing.

Results: A total of 24 incident EoE cases (mean age 40 years; 63% male; 100% white; 97 eos/hpf) and 25 controls (mean age 48, 36% male; 76% white; 1 eos/hpf) were analyzed. Principal coordinate analysis ordination failed to distinguish cases from controls. There were no microbiome differences within EoE cases based on clinical phenotype, presence of atopy, or endoscopic features. Use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), however, was significantly associated with 5 taxa including SR1 at the phylum level and Burkholderia at the genus level.

Conclusions: There were no significant differences in the esophageal microbiome between newly diagnosed EoE cases and non-EoE controls in adults, or within EoE cases based on clinical features. However, given the strong rationale for the esophageal microbiome in EoE pathogenesis, future studies should explicitly consider the presence of PPIs as a confounding feature.


eosinophilic esophagitis, microbiome, proton pump inhibitor, phenotype