Lactobacillus abundance tied to lower risk of childhood wheezing at age 2 years
In infants with early-life acute respiratory infection (ARI) with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), elevated nasopharyngeal Lactobacillus levels protect against wheezing illnesses at 2 years of age, a recent study has found.
The study included 118 full-term infants with confirmed RSV ARI (median age 21.8 weeks; 42.4 percent females). Next-generation sequencing was performed on collected nasal washes to characterize the nasopharyngeal microbiome. The primary study outcome was subsequent wheeze, determined through parental reports.
In terms of taxonomic composition, the genus Moraxella dominated the nasopharyngeal microbiome at the time of RSV ARI (37.6 percent). This was followed by Streptococcus (19.7 percent), Haemophilus (13.5 percent) and Corynebacterium (10.0 percent).
Initial sequencing data showed that the absolute counts of Lactobacillus and Staphylococcus were significantly reduced in infants who developed subsequent wheeze, while that of Pseudomonas were significantly elevated.
After controlling for potential confounders, such as demographic variables, exposure to antibiotics, mode of delivery and respiratory severity score, only Lactobacillus and Staphylococcus counts remained significantly associated with wheeze development.
In contrast, the overall taxonomic composition of the nasopharyngeal microbiome was unrelated to the development of wheeze at 2 years of age, though there was a trend toward higher microbial diversity and richness in infants with subsequent wheezing.
“These preliminary findings merit replication in larger longitudinal cohorts. They provide novel data that could support the development of new prognostic or preventive strategies for childhood wheezing illnesses,” said researchers.