Laryngotracheal Microbiota in Adult Laryngotracheal Stenosis

mSphere. 2019 May 1;4(3):e00211-19. doi: 10.1128/mSphereDirect.00211-19.


Laryngotracheal stenosis is an obstructive respiratory disease that leads to voicing difficulties and dyspnea with potential life-threatening consequences. The majority of incidences are due to iatrogenic etiology from endotracheal tube intubation; however, airway scarring also has idiopathic causes. While recent evidence suggests a microbial contribution to mucosal inflammation, the microbiota associated with different types of stenosis has not been characterized. High-throughput sequencing of the V4 region of the16S rRNA gene was performed to characterize the microbial communities of 61 swab samples from 17 iatrogenic and 10 adult idiopathic stenosis patients. Nonscar swabs from stenosis patients were internal controls, and eight swabs from four patients without stenosis represented external controls. Significant differences in diversity were observed between scar and nonscar samples and among sample sites, with decreased diversity detected in scar samples and the glottis region. Permutational analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) results revealed significant differences in community composition for scar versus nonscar samples, etiology type, sample site, groups (iatrogenic, idiopathic, and internal and external controls), and individual patients. Pairwise Spearman's correlation revealed a strong inverse correlation between Prevotella and Streptococcus among all samples. Finally, bacteria in the family Moraxellaceae were found to be distinctly associated with idiopathic stenosis samples in comparison with external controls. Our findings suggest that specific microbiota and community shifts are present with laryngotracheal stenosis in adults, with members of the family Moraxellaceae, including the known pathogens Moraxella and Acinetobacter, identified in idiopathic scar. Further work is warranted to elucidate the contributing role of bacteria on the pathogenesis of laryngotracheal stenosis.IMPORTANCE The laryngotracheal region resides at the intersection between the heavily studied nasal cavity and lungs; however, examination of the microbiome in chronic inflammatory conditions of the subglottis and trachea remains scarce. To date, studies have focused on the microbiota of the vocal folds, or the glottis, for laryngeal carcinoma, as well as healthy larynges, benign vocal fold lesions, and larynges exposed to smoking and refluxate. In this study, we seek to examine the structure and composition of the microbial community in adult laryngotracheal stenosis of various etiologies. Due to the heterogeneity among the underlying pathogenesis mechanisms and clinical outcomes seen in laryngotracheal stenosis disease, we hypothesized that different microbial profiles will be detected among various stenosis etiology types. Understanding differences in the microbiota for subglottic stenosis subtypes may shed light upon etiology-specific biomarker identification and offer novel insights into management approaches for this debilitating disease.

Keywords: Acinetobacter; Moraxella; fibrosis; laryngotracheal stenosis; subglottic stenosis; upper airway microbiota.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acinetobacter / genetics
  • Acinetobacter / isolation & purification
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Cicatrix / microbiology
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Laryngostenosis / microbiology*
  • Laryngostenosis / pathology
  • Male
  • Microbiota*
  • Middle Aged
  • Moraxellaceae / genetics
  • Moraxellaceae / isolation & purification
  • Trachea / microbiology*
  • Trachea / pathology
  • Tracheal Stenosis / microbiology*
  • Tracheal Stenosis / pathology