A connection between intestinal microbiota and respiratory infections has been confirmed


How does the intestinal microbiota influence the onset of respiratory diseases? Australian researchers compiled the most recent data.


Although it has been established that dysbiosis in the intestinal and respiratory microbiotas can affect the immune response and lead to pulmonary disorders, the mechanisms still remain unclear. Australian researchers set out to understand these connections and have published their first observations. They explain how the gut and lung microbiotas interact: beyond the physical transfer of certain bacterial species (via aspiration or ingestion), inflammatory phenomena are induced and cause certain lung diseases via cytokines and bacterial components like lipopolysaccharides (LPS). In the case of asthma, for example, researchers identified that a drop in LPS (as observed in the stool) was correlated with a risk of developing the disease. In the case of respiratory infections, recent studies have emphasized the protective role of the intestinal microbiota: its imbalance can disrupt the immune defense against viruses or bacteria that cause respiratory infections. The addition of certain probiotic strains may thus prove beneficial in these circumstances. More broadly, this study shows that the intestinal microbiota seems to be strongly implicated in the pathophysiology of certain respiratory diseases, which will allow for the development of new therapeutic options.


Budden KF et al. Emerging pathogenic links between microbiota and the gut–lung axis. Nature reviews Microbiology 15, 55–63 (2017)