Lung inflammation and disease: A perspective on microbial homeostasis and metabolism

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


It is now well appreciated that the human microbiome plays a significant role in a number of processes in the body, significantly affecting its metabolic, inflammatory, and immune homeostasis. Recent research has revealed that almost every mucosal surface in the human body is associated with a resident commensal microbiome of its own. While the gut microbiome and its role in regulation of host metabolism along with its alteration in a disease state has been well studied, there is a lacuna in understanding the resident microbiota of other mucosal surfaces. Among these, the scientific information on the role of lung microbiota in pulmonary diseases is currently severely limited. Historically, lungs have been considered to be sterile and lung diseases have only been studied in the context of bacterial pathogenesis. Recently however, studies have revealed a resilient microbiome in the upper and lower respiratory tracts and there is increased evidence on its central role in respiratory diseases. Knowledge of lung microbiome and its metabolic fallout (local and systemic) is still in its nascent stages and attracting immense interest in recent times. In this review, we will provide a perspective on lung-associated metabolic disorders defined for lung diseases (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and respiratory depression due to infection) and correlate it with lung microbial perturbation. Such perturbations may be due to altered biochemical or metabolic stress as well. Finally, we will draw evidence from microbiome and classical microbiology literature to demonstrate how specific lung morbidities associate with specific metabolic characteristics of the disease, and with the role of microbiome in this context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-165
Number of pages14
JournalIUBMB life
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • 16s rRNA sequencing
  • commensal flora
  • dysbiosis
  • lung
  • metabolome
  • mucosa
  • pulmonary microbiome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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