Infant airway microbiota and topical immune perturbations in the origins of childhood asthma

Nat Commun. 2019 Nov 1;10(1):5001. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12989-7.


Asthma is believed to arise through early life aberrant immune development in response to environmental exposures that may influence the airway microbiota. Here, we examine the airway microbiota during the first three months of life by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing in the population-based Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood 2010 (COPSAC2010) cohort consisting of 700 children monitored for the development of asthma since birth. Microbial diversity and the relative abundances of Veillonella and Prevotella in the airways at age one month are associated with asthma by age 6 years, both individually and with additional taxa in a multivariable model. Higher relative abundance of these bacteria is furthermore associated with an airway immune profile dominated by reduced TNF-α and IL-1β and increased CCL2 and CCL17, which itself is an independent predictor for asthma. These findings suggest a mechanism of microbiota-immune interactions in early infancy that predisposes to childhood asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / microbiology
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Bacteria / immunology*
  • Child
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Microbiota / genetics
  • Microbiota / immunology*
  • Microbiota / physiology
  • Prevotella / genetics
  • Prevotella / immunology
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Respiratory System / immunology*
  • Respiratory System / microbiology
  • Veillonella / genetics
  • Veillonella / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S