Microbial diversity within the airway microbiome in chronic pediatric lung diseases

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Infection, Genetics and Evolution






Asthma; Cystic fibrosis; Microbiome; Pediatrics; Translational medicine


The study of the airway microbiome in children is an area of emerging research, especially in relation to the role microbial diversity may play in acute and chronic inflammation. Three such pediatric airway diseases include cystic fibrosis, asthma, and chronic lung disease of prematurity. In cystic fibrosis, the presence of Pseudomonas spp. is associated with decreased microbial diversity. Decreasing microbial diversity is also associated with poor lung function. In asthma, early viral infections appear to drive changes in bacterial diversity which may be associated with asthma risk. Premature infants with Ureaplasma spp. are at higher risk for chronic lung disease due to inflammation. Microbiome changes due to prematurity also appear to affect the inflammatory response to viral infections post-natally. Importantly, microbial diversity can be measured using metataxonomic (e.g., 16S rRNA sequencing) and metagenomic (e.g., shotgun sequencing) approaches. A metagenomics approach may be preferable as it can provide further granularity of the sample composition, identifying the bacterial species or strain, information on additional microbial components, including fungal and viral components, information about functional genomics of the microbiome, and information about antimicrobial resistance mutations. Future studies of pediatric airway diseases incorporating these techniques may provide evidence for new treatment approaches for these vulnerable patient populations.

This document is currently not available here.