A common microbial signature is present in the lower airways of interstitial lung diseases including sarcoidosis

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Valeria D'Argenio
Giorgio Casaburi
Vincenza Precone
Livio Gioacchino Moccia
Irene Postiglione
Marialuisa Bocchino
Alessandro Sanduzzi


Airway microbiota, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), pulmonary sarcoidosis, interstitial lung diseases, next generation sequencing.


Background: The etiology of pulmonary sarcoidosis is not well established. Although the mechanism triggering pulmonary sarcoidosis remains to be established, inflammatory reactions seem to play an important role in this process. Objectives: The aim of this study was to define the composition of the lower airway microbiota in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) of patients affected by interstitial lung diseases, including sarcoidosis, to determine whether the bacterial signature differs among these diseases. Methods: Ten patients affected by pulmonary sarcoidosis and 9 patients affected by other interstitial lung diseases were enrolled. 16S rRNA next-generation sequencing was used to study BAL microbial composition of these patients, and were also compared with already published microbial content in higher airways of such diseases. Results: Four phyla dominated the lower airway microbiota, Bacteroidetes being the most abundant phylum in both groups (56.9%). Diversity analysis showed no significant differences between the various diseases, particularly between pulmonary sarcoidosis and other interstitial lung diseases affecting lower airways. Conclusions: Our data indicate that the bacterial lower airways microbiota share the same signature and, therefore, cannot be used as a diagnostic tool to discriminate among different interstitial lung diseases, including sarcoidosis, while microbial diversity is present when considering lower or higher respiratory airways.


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