Microbiota-Dependent Regulation of Antimicrobial Immunity in the Lung

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2019 Sep;61(3):284-289. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2019-0101TR.


Several body sites, including the intestinal and respiratory tracts, are colonized with a myriad of bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses, which are collectively referred to as the "microbiota." The bacterial component of the microbiota in particular has been recognized to influence a multitude of physiological functions, including innate and adaptive immune responses. Germ-free and microbiota-depleted animals display an impaired antimicrobial defense and are therefore highly susceptible to various infections, including those affecting the lung. In this review, we summarize current understanding of how the microbiota affects antimicrobial immunity and disease tolerance during viral and bacterial pulmonary infections. A better understanding of these mechanisms could help to refine clinical approaches to preserve or rescue the microbiota-immune system interplay and protect patients against lung infections.

Keywords: immunity; microbiota; pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity / drug effects*
  • Adaptive Immunity / immunology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects*
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / immunology
  • Microbiota / drug effects*


  • Anti-Infective Agents