The Human Lung Microbiome

  • Liliana Losada
  • Elodie Ghedin
  • Alison Morris
  • Hong Wei Chu
  • William C. Nierman
Chapter

Abstract

The human lower respiratory tract is considered sterile in normal healthy individuals (Flanagan et al., 2007; Speert, 2006) despite the fact that every day we breathe in multiple microorganisms present in the air and aspirate thousands of organisms from the mouth and nasopharynx. This apparent sterility is maintained by numerous interrelated components of the lung physical structures such as the mucociliary elevator and components of the innate and adaptive immune systems (discussed below) (reviewed in (Diamond et al., 2000; Gerritsen, 2000)). However, it is possible that the observed sterility might be a result of the laboratory practices applied to study the flora of the lungs. Historically, researchers faced with a set of diseases characterized by a changing and largely cryptic lung microbiome have lacked tools to study lung ecology as a whole and have concentrated on familiar, cultivatable candidate pathogens.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liliana Losada
    • 1
  • Elodie Ghedin
    • 2
  • Alison Morris
    • 3
  • Hong Wei Chu
    • 4
  • William C. Nierman
    • 1
  1. 1.J. Craig Venter InstituteRockvilleUSA
  2. 2.Center for Vaccine Research, Department of Computational and Systems BiologyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  3. 3.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medicine, Integrated Department of ImmunologyNational Jewish Health and the University of ColoradoDenverUSA

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