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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 Jun 15;187(12):1382-7. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201303-0488WS.

The role of the lung microbiome in health and disease. A National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute workshop report.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Study of the human lung microbiome in the context of pulmonary health and disease is an area of emerging research interest that is being driven by several contributing factors. These factors include increased recognition of the diversity of human-associated microbiota, their roles in health and in diseases associated with chronic inflammation, and advancements in technologies and tools that have facilitated such discoveries about the microbiota in organ systems outside of the lung. Therefore, the overarching goals of lung microbiome research are: to identify and characterize microbial populations associated with the respiratory tract and lungs; to understand their roles in lung health and disease; and, we hope, to allow the development of improved approaches for diagnosing and treating chronic respiratory diseases in which the microbiome has a role. Recent studies of the lung microbiome have yielded a number of interesting findings but also highlighted questions and challenges for researchers and clinicians. In December 2011, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute convened a workshop to identify key issues and areas for further attention or development to advance research on the lung microbiome. Current knowledge and the state of research on the lung and related areas of human microbiome investigation were reviewed and discussed.

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