Revealing oral microbiota composition and functionality associated with heavy cigarette smoking

Mohammad Tahseen Al Bataineh, Nihar Ranjan Dash, Mohammed Elkhazendar, Dua’a Mohammad Hasan Alnusairat, Islam Mohammad Ismail Darwish, Mohamed Saleh Al-Hajjaj, Qutayba Hamid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Heavy tobacco smoking, a hallmark feature of lung cancer, is drastically predominant in Middle Eastern populations. The precise links between nicotine dependence and the functional contribution of the oral microbiota remain unknown in these populations. Methods: We evaluated the composition and functional capabilities of oral microbiota with relation to cigarette smoking in 105 adults through shotgun metagenomics using buccal swabs. Results: The oral microbiota composition in our study subjects was dominated by the phyla Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Bacteroidetes, in addition to the genera Prevotella and Veillonella, similar to previously described westernized cohorts. Furthermore, the smoker's oral microbiota represented a significant abundance of Veillonella dispar, Leptotrichia spp. and Prevotella pleuritidis when compared to non-smokers. Within the smoking groups, differential relative abundance testing unveiled relative abundance of Streptobacillus hongkongensis, Fusobacterium massiliense, Prevotella bivia in high nicotine dependent compared to low nicotine dependent profiles based on Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence. Functional profiling showed marked differences between smokers and non-smokers. Smokers exhibited an enrichment of Tricarballylate utilization and Lactate racemization when compared to the non-smokers. According to their nicotine dependence, enrichment of Xanthosine utilization, p-Aminobenzoyl-Glutamate utilization, and multidrug efflux pump in Campylobacter jejuni biosynthesis modules were detected in the high nicotine dependent group. Conclusions: These compositional and functional differences may provide critical insight on how variations in the oral microbiota could predispose to respiratory illnesses and smoke cessation relapse in cigarette smokers. In particular, the observed enrichment of Fusobacterium and Prevotella in the oral microbiota possibly suggests an intriguing linkage to gut and lung cancers.

Original languageBritish English
Article number421
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Fagerström test
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Oral microbiota
  • Shotgun metagenomics


Dive into the research topics of 'Revealing oral microbiota composition and functionality associated with heavy cigarette smoking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this