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Role of the lung microbiome in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

1 Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100069, China
2 Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York 10001, USA
3 Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing 100029, China

Correspondence Address:
Ting Yang,
Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, 2 Yinghua Dongjie, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Objective: The development of culture-independent techniques for microbiological analysis shows that bronchial tree is not sterile in either healthy or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) individuals. With the advance of sequencing technologies, lung microbiome has become a new frontier for pulmonary disease research, and such advance has led to better understanding of the lung microbiome in COPD. This review aimed to summarize the recent advances in lung microbiome, its relationships with COPD, and the possible mechanisms that microbiome contributed to COPD pathogenesis. Data Sources: Literature search was conducted using PubMed to collect all available studies concerning lung microbiome in COPD. The search terms were “microbiome” and “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease", or “microbiome” and “lung/pulmonary". Study Selection: The papers in English about lung microbiome or lung microbiome in COPD were selected, and the type of articles was not limited. Results: The lung is a complex microbial ecosystem; the microbiome in lung is a collection of viable and nonviable microbiota (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) residing in the bronchial tree and parenchymal tissues, which is important for health. The following types of respiratory samples are often used to detect the lung microbiome: sputum, bronchial aspirate, bronchoalveolar lavage, and bronchial mucosa. Disordered bacterial microbiome is participated in pathogenesis of COPD; there are also dynamic changes in microbiota during COPD exacerbations. Lung microbiome may contribute to the pathogenesis of COPD by manipulating inflammatory and/or immune process. Conclusions: Normal lung microbiome could be useful for prophylactic or therapeutic management in COPD, and the changes of lung microbiome could also serve as biomarkers for the evaluation of COPD.

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