The microbiome and the lung

Lijia Cui, Alison Morris, Laurence Huang, James M. Beck, Homer L. Twigg, Erika Von Mutius, Elodie Ghedin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Investigation of the human microbiome has become an important field of research facilitated by advances in sequencing technologies. The lung, which is one of the latest body sites being explored for the characterization of human-associated microbial communities, has a microbiome that is suspected to play a substantial role in health and disease. In this review, we provide an overview of the basics of microbiome studies. Challenges in the study of the lung microbiome are highlighted, and further attention is called to the optimization and standardization of methodologies to explore the role of the lung microbiome in health and disease. We also provide examples of lung microbial communities associated with disease or infection status and discuss the role of fungal species in the lung. Finally, we review studies demonstrating that the environmental microbiome can in fluence lung health and disease, such as the finding that the diversity of microbial exposure correlates inversely with the development of childhood asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S227-S232
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014


  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Lung
  • Microbiome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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