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Published on : Oct 24, 2017

The study of microbiome has been the center of the study for a variety of reasons, notably for tracking digestive disorders. In recent years, microbiome residing in our lungs is showing potential as biomarkers for various lung diseases, as their composition continuously changes with the intake of air by our lungs. Researchers at the University of Illinois (UIC) College Of Medicine, Chicago, studying the link between asthma severity and the inflammation in the airways found that lung microbiome plays a potential role in predicting the severity of asthma and the treatment response. The study is detailed in a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE and the research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, a key agency of the U.S. government.

Current Study on Lung Diseases Management Focus on Personalized Therapies

Over the past few decades, Asthma, a common chronic and heterogeneous disease, has been benefitting from a growing number of research that eminently adopt a personalized therapy approach.  The study by the team of researchers at the UIC adds significantly to this approach by focusing on an individual’s lung microbiome. The investigators contend that changing the microbiome ecosystem for predicting and controlling the disease development can be as simple as a dietary change or a simple intake of medications.

Strong Link between Airway Inflammation and Microbiota

The underlying airway inflammation has been useful in establishing asthma phenotypes previously. The researchers conducted the study on a groups of patients, aged 18 to 30, exhibiting closely resembling clinical conditions and subjected them to standard pulmonary function tests. Focusing on exploring the relationship between airway inflammation, the severity of disease, and microbiota in local airways, they identified two phenotypes, called AP1 and AP2, also known as asthma phenotype one and two, to be useful in predicting and diagnosing the severity of asthma in subjects. While AP1 was associated with less severe atopic asthma, AP2 signaled more severe conditions, such as higher pro-inflammatory cytokines, and stunted pulmonary function tests.

The investigators further found that after patients after inhaling corticosteroid, a common asthma therapy, showed decreased specific airway inflammations and that the composition of the microbiome changed favorably. Further developing on the study, believe researchers, could bode well for designing personalized therapies for atopic asthmatic patients.