Comparison of the airway microbiota in children with chronic suppurative lung disease

Bushra Ahmed*, Michael J. Cox, Leah Cuthbertson, Phillip James, Laura Gardner, William Cookson, Jane Davies, Miriam Moffatt, Andrew Bush

*Corresponding author for this work

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Rationale The airway microbiota is important in chronic suppurative lung diseases, such as primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) and cystic fibrosis (CF). This comparison has not previously been described but is important because difference between the two diseases may relate to the differing prognoses and lead to pathological insights and potentially, new treatments. Objectives To compare the longitudinal development of the airway microbiota in children with PCD to that of CF and relate this to age and clinical status. Methods Sixty-two age-matched children (age range 0.5-17 years) with PCD or CF (n=31 in each group) were recruited prospectively and followed for 1.1 years. Throat swabs or sputum as well as clinical information were collected at routine clinical appointments. 16S rRNA gene sequencing was performed. Measurements and main results The microbiota was highly individual and more diverse in PCD and differed in community composition when compared with CF. While Streptococcus was the most abundant genus in both conditions, Pseudomonas was more abundant in CF with Haemophilus more abundant in PCD (P adj =0.0005). In PCD only, an inverse relationship was seen in the relative abundance of Streptococcus and Haemophilus with age. Conclusions Bacterial community composition differs between children with PCD and those with CF. Pseudomonas is more prevalent in CF and Haemophilus in PCD, at least until infection with Pseudomonas supervenes. Interactions between organisms, particularly members of Haemophilus, Streptococcus and Pseudomonas genera appear important. Study of the interactions between these organisms may lead to new therapies or risk stratification.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001106
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open Respiratory Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
assistance in patient recruitment and the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit at Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust. AB was supported by the NIHR Respiratory Disease Biomedical Research Unit at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London. AB is an emeritus NIHR Senior Investigator. BA was supported by NIHR. MM and WC were supported by the Asmarley Trust and Wellcome Trust. JD is an NIHR Senior Investigator.

Publisher Copyright:
© Authors 2021


  • cystic fibrosis
  • paediatric lung disaese
  • respiratory infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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