Age and sex-related variations in murine laryngeal microbiota

PLoS One. 2024 May 14;19(5):e0300672. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0300672. eCollection 2024.


The larynx undergoes significant age and sex-related changes in structure and function across the lifespan. Emerging evidence suggests that laryngeal microbiota influences immunological processes. Thus, there is a critical need to delineate microbial mechanisms that may underlie laryngeal physiological and immunological changes. As a first step, the present study explored potential age and sex-related changes in the laryngeal microbiota across the lifespan in a murine model. We compared laryngeal microbial profiles of mice across the lifespan (adolescents, young adults, older adults and elderly) to determine age and sex-related microbial variation on 16s rRNA gene sequencing. Measures of alpha diversity and beta diversity were obtained, along with differentially abundant taxa across age groups and biological sexes. There was relative stability of the laryngeal microbiota within each age group and no significant bacterial compositional shift in the laryngeal microbiome across the lifespan. There was an abundance of short-chain fatty acid producing bacteria in the adolescent group, unique to the laryngeal microbiota; taxonomic changes in the elderly resembled that of the aged gut microbiome. There were no significant changes in the laryngeal microbiota relating to biological sex. This is the first study to report age and sex-related variation in laryngeal microbiota. This data lays the groundwork for defining how age-related microbial mechanisms may govern laryngeal health and disease. Bacterial compositional changes, as a result of environmental or systemic stimuli, may not only be indicative of laryngeal-specific metabolic and immunoregulatory processes, but may precede structural and functional age-related changes in laryngeal physiology.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Female
  • Larynx* / microbiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microbiota*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S* / genetics
  • Sex Factors

Grants and funding

The work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders R01DC012773. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.