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Asthma is a common chronic respiratory disease, which can be serious if it is not controlled. Like other diseases, a lack of diversity in the microbiota can favor its development.

There are around 334 million asthmatics in the world. Children are more affected than adults (14% compared to 6%, on average). 

Variable severity

The attacks that characterize asthma are due to inflammation of the bronchi in reaction to triggers, causing diffuse obstruction of the airways. Breathing problems follow, with  varying severity and frequency from one patient to another.

Numerous risk factors

Asthma develops in people who have a genetic predisposition (allergies, prematurity) and/or who are exposed to environmental factors like allergens (pollens, dust mites), tobacco smoke, or air pollution. Strong emotions, cold air and physical exercise can also trigger attacks. However, several studies have established a link with dysbiosis of the intestinal microbiota and the pulmonary microbiota, suggesting that these bacterial ecosystems play a role. 

An incurable disease

Although there is no cure for asthma, it is possible to manage it with rescue treatments, which quickly lessen the intensity of an attack, and controller treatments, which aim to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks.
Preclinical studies on the connection between microbiota and asthma suggest that a change in microbiota could prevent this disease and justify research efforts on probiotics and prebiotics.


Sources :
Abrahamsson TR, Jakobsson HE, Andersson AF, et al. Low gut microbiota diversity in early infancy precedes asthma at school age. Clin Exp Allergy 2013.
Hilty M, Burke C, Pedro H, et al. Disordered microbial communities in asthmatic airways. PLoS One. 2010;5(1):e8578.
Global burden of disease due to asthma. The global Asthma Report 2014.
Asthme. Dossier Inserm
Site de l'Institut de veille sanitaire. InVS
Tsicopoulos A. Inserm U1019, CNRS UMR 8204, Univ Lille Nord de France, Institut Pasteur de Lille. Microbiote et allergie.
Vael C, Nelen V, Verhulst S, Goossens H, Desager K. Early intestinal Bacteroides fragilis colonisation and development of asthma. BMC Pulm Med 2008: 8: 19.
Songjinda P, Nakayama J, Tateyama A, et al. Differences in developing intestinal microbiota between allergic and nonallergic infants: a pilot study in Japan. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2007 ; 71 : 2338-42.
Vael C, Vanheirstraeten L, Desager KN, et al. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of neonatal intestinal microbiota in relation to the development of asthma. BMC Microbiol 2011 ; 11 : 68.
Fonseca VM, Milani TM, Prado R, et al. Oral administration of Saccharomyces cerevisiae UFMG A-905 prevents allergic asthma in mice. Respirology. 2017 Feb 6.
Juan Z, Zhao-Ling S, Ming-Hua Z, et al. Oral administration of Clostridium butyricum CGMCC0313-1 reduces ovalbumin-induced allergic airway inflammation in mice. Respirology. 2017 Jan 25.