Introduction and Aims Persistent bacterial infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with both Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and non-CF Bronchiectasis (non-CFBX). Numerous studies have shown that CF and non-CFBX airways are colonised by a complex microbiota. However, many bacteria are difficult, if not impossible, to culture by conventional laboratory techniques. Therefore, molecular detection techniques offer a more comprehensive view of bacterial diversity within clinical specimens. The objective of this study was to characterise and compare bacterial diversity and relative abundance in patients with CF and non-CFBX during exacerbation and when clinically stable.
Methods Sputum samples were collected from CF (n=50 samples) and non-CFBX (n=52 samples) patients at the start and end of treatment for an infective exacerbation and when clinically stable. Pyrosequencing was used to assess the microbial diversity and relative genera (or the closest possibly taxonomic order) abundance within the samples. Each sequence read was defined based on 3% difference.
Results High-throughput pyrosequencing allowed a sensitive and detailed examination of microbial community composition. Rich microbial communities were apparent within both CF (171 species-level phylotypes per genus) and non-CFBX airways (144 species-level phylotypes per genus). Relative species distribution within those two environments was considerably different; however, relatively few genera formed a core of microorganisms, representing approximately 90% of all sequences, which dominated both environments. Relative abundance based on observed operational taxonomic units demonstrated that the most abundant bacteria in CF were Pseudomonas (28%), Burkholderia (22%), Streptococcus (13%), family Pseudomonadaceae (8%) and Prevotella (6%). In contrast, the most commonly detected operational taxonomic units in non-CFBX were Haemophilus (22%), Streptococcus (14%), other (unassigned taxa) (11%), Pseudomonas (10%), Veillonella (7%) and Prevotella (6%).
Conclusions These results suggest that distinctive microbial communities are associated with infection and/or colonisation in patients with both CF and non-CFBX. Although relatively high species richness was observed within the two environments, each was dominated by different core taxa. This suggests that differences in the lung environment of these two diseases may affect adaptability of the relevant bacterial taxa.