Author(s): Gollwitzer ES, Marsland BJ
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Abstract Increasingly the development of novel therapeutic strategies is taking into consideration the contribution of the intestinal microbiota to health and disease. Dysbiosis of the microbial communities colonizing the human intestinal tract has been described for a variety of chronic diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, obesity and asthma. In particular, reduction of several so-called probiotic species including Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria that are generally considered to be beneficial, as well as an outgrowth of potentially pathogenic bacteria is often reported. Thus a tempting therapeutic approach is to shape the constituents of the microbiota in an attempt to restore the microbial balance towards the growth of 'health-promoting' bacterial species. A twist to this scenario is the recent discovery that the respiratory tract also harbors a microbiota under steady-state conditions. Investigators have shown that the microbial composition of the airway flora is different between healthy lungs and those with chronic lung diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as well as cystic fibrosis. This is an emerging field, and thus far there is very limited data showing a direct contribution of the airway microbiota to the onset and progression of disease. However, should future studies provide such evidence, the airway microbiota might soon join the intestinal microbiota as a target for therapeutic intervention. In this review, we highlight the major advances that have been made describing the microbiota in chronic lung disease and discuss current and future approaches concerning manipulation of the microbiota for the treatment and prevention of disease. © 2013.
This article was published in Pharmacol Ther
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology