Changes in the respiratory microbiome during acute exacerbations of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Philip L. Molyneaux
  • Athol U. Wells
  • Ho Cheol Kim
  • Wonjun Ji
  • William O.C. Cookson
  • Miriam F. Moffatt
  • Dong Soon Kim
  • Toby M. Maher

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • National Heart and Lung Institute
  • Royal Brompton Hospital
  • University of Ulsan
  • Imperial College London


Acute exacerbations of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (AE-IPF) have been defined as events of clinically significant respiratory deterioration with an unidentifiable cause. They carry a significant mortality and morbidity and while their exact pathogenesis remains unclear, the possibility remains that hidden infection may play a role. The aim of this pilot study was to determine whether changes in the respiratory microbiota occur during an AE-IPF. Bacterial DNA was extracted from bronchoalveolar lavage from patients with stable IPF and those experiencing an AE-IPF. A hyper-variable region of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene (16S rRNA) was amplified, quantified and pyrosequenced. Culture independent techniques demonstrate AE-IPF is associated with an increased BAL bacterial burden compared to stable disease and highlight shifts in the composition of the respiratory microbiota during an AE-IPF.


Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalRespiratory research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • 16S, Acute exacerbation, Bacterial infection, Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas