The changing face of asthma and its relation with microbes

Chris S. Earl, Shi-qi An, Robert P. Ryan (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    41 Citations (Scopus)


    During the past 50 years, the prevalence of asthma has increased and this has coincided with our changing relation with microorganisms. Asthma is a complex disease associated with local tissue inflammation of the airway that is determined by environmental, immunological, and host genetic factors. In a subgroup of sufferers, respiratory infections are associated with the development of chronic disease and more frequent inflammatory exacerbations. Recent studies suggest that these infections are polymicrobial in nature. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that the recently discovered asthma airway microbiota may play a critical role in pathophysiological processes associated with the disease. Here, we discuss the current data regarding a possible role for infection in chronic asthma with a particular focus on the role bacteria may play. We discuss recent advances that are beginning to elucidate the complex relations between the microbiota and the immune response in asthma patients. We also highlight the clinical implications of these recent findings in regards to the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)408-418
    Number of pages11
    JournalTrends in Microbiology
    Issue number7
    Early online date31 Mar 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


    • Airway
    • Allergens
    • Asthma
    • Infection
    • Inflammation
    • Microbiota

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Infectious Diseases
    • Microbiology (medical)
    • Microbiology
    • Virology


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