Science China Life Sciences

, Volume 60, Issue 12, pp 1407–1415 | Cite as

Role of microbiota on lung homeostasis and diseases



The lungs, as a place of gas exchange, are continuously exposed to environmental stimuli, such as allergens, microbes, and pollutants. The development of the culture-independent technique for microbiological analysis, such as 16S rRNA sequencing, has uncovered that the lungs are not sterile and, in fact, colonized by diverse communities of microbiota. The function of intestinal microbiota in modulating mucosal homeostasis and defense has been widely studied; however, the potential function of lung microbiota in regulating immunity and homeostasis has just begun. Increasing evidence indicates the relevance of microbiota to lung homeostasis and disease. In this review, we describe the distribution and composition of microbiota in the respiratory system and discuss the potential function of lung microbiota in both health and acute/chronic lung disease. In addition, we also discuss the recent understanding of the gut-lung axis, because several studies have revealed that the immunological interaction among the gut, the lung, and the microbiota was involved in this issue.


lung microbiota homeostasis lung disease 


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31400783, 91542000).


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© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Immunology and the Key Laboratory of Innate Immunity and Chronic Disease (Chinese Academy of Sciences), School of Life Science and Medical CenterUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina
  2. 2.Neuroimmunology and MS Research, Neurology ClinicUniversity Hospital Zurich, University ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, First Affiliated Hospital, College of MedicineZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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