Sputum Microbiome Dynamics in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients during an Exacerbation Event and Post-Stabilization

Respiration. 2019;98(5):447-454. doi: 10.1159/000501988. Epub 2019 Aug 22.


Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects up to 65 million people worldwide, and COPD exacerbation causes tissue damage and subsequent loss of lung function. It is a multifactorial event in which respiratory infections are involved, but little is known about its dynamics.

Objectives: The objective of our study was to determine the microbiome composition during an exacerbation event and post-stabilization.

Methods: We conducted an observational analytical study of a cohort of 55 COPD patients in which 2 sputum samples (the first taken during an exacerbation event and the second during clinical post-stabilization) were submitted to 16s RNA ribosomal analysis by Illumina Miseq Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). The presence of respiratory viruses was also determined.

Results: Our study found a stable microbiome composition in the post-stabilization sputum samples of COPD patients, and 4 additional microbiomes in samples taken during the exacerbation, 3 of which showed a marked dysbiosis by Haemophilus, Pseudomonas, and Serratia. The fourth exacerbation microbiome had a very similar composition to post-stabilization samples, but some pathogens such as Moraxella and respiratory viruses were also found.

Conclusions: Our study reveals the main protagonists involved in lung microbiome dynamics during an exacerbation event and post-stabilization in COPD patients by NGS analysis.

Keywords: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Exacerbation; Microbioma.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbiota*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / microbiology*
  • Sputum / microbiology*