Functional effects of the microbiota in chronic respiratory disease

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Journal Article
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 2019, 7 (10), pp. 907 - 920
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd The composition of the lung microbiome is increasingly well characterised, with changes in microbial diversity or abundance observed in association with several chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, the precise effects of the microbiome on pulmonary health and the functional mechanisms by which it regulates host immunity are only now beginning to be elucidated. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi from both the upper and lower respiratory tract produce structural ligands and metabolites that interact with the host and alter the development and progression of chronic respiratory diseases. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of the composition of the lung microbiome, including the virome and mycobiome, the mechanisms by which these microbes interact with host immunity, and their functional effects on the pathogenesis, exacerbations, and comorbidities of chronic respiratory diseases. We also describe the present understanding of how respiratory microbiota can influence the efficacy of common therapies for chronic respiratory disease, and the potential of manipulation of the microbiome as a therapeutic strategy. Finally, we highlight some of the limitations in the field and propose how these could be addressed in future research.
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