Lower airway microbiota

Giulio Pulvirenti, Giuseppe Fabio Parisi, Alessandro Giallongo, Maria Papale, Sara Manti, Salvatore Savasta, Amelia Licari, Gian Luigi Marseglia, Salvatore Leonardi

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


During the last several years, the interest in the role of microbiota in human health has grown significantly. For many years, the lung was considered a sterile environment, and only recently, with the use of more sophisticated techniques, has it been demonstrated that colonization by a complex population of microorganisms in lower airways also occurs in healthy subjects; a predominance of some species of Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes phyla and with a peculiar composition in some disease conditions, such as asthma, have been noted. Lung microbiota derives mainly from the higher airways microbiota. Although we have some information about the role of gut microbiota in modulation of immune system, less it is known about the connection between lung microbiota and local and systemic immunity. There is a correlation between altered microbiota composition and some diseases or chronic states; however, despite this correlation, it has not been clearly demonstrated whether the lung microbiota dysbiosis could be a consequence or a cause of these diseases. We are far from a scientific approach to the therapeutic use of probiotics in airway diseases, but we are only at the starting point of a knowledge process in this fascinating field that could reveal important surprises, and randomized prospective studies in future could reveal more about the clinical possibilities for controlling lung microbiota. This review was aimed at updating the current knowledge in the field of airway microbiota.

Original languageEnglish
Article number393
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Issue numberSEP
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Airway
  • Asthma
  • Immunity
  • Infections
  • Lung
  • Microbiome
  • Microbiota
  • Probiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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