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Original article
Clinical measures of disease in adult non-CF bronchiectasis correlate with airway microbiota composition
  1. Geraint B Rogers1,
  2. Christopher J van der Gast2,
  3. Leah Cuthbertson2,
  4. Serena K Thomson3,
  5. Kenneth D Bruce1,
  6. Megan L Martin4,
  7. David J Serisier4,5
  1. 1Molecular Microbiology Research Laboratory, Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King's College London, London, UK
  2. 2NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, UK
  3. 3School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
  4. 4Department of Respiratory Medicine and University of Queensland, Mater Adult Hospital, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  5. 5Immunity, Infection, Inflammation Program, Mater Medical Research Institute, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kenneth Bruce, King’s College London, Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London, SE1 9NH, UK; kenneth.bruce{at}


Rationale Despite the potentially important roles for infection in adult non-cystic fibrosis (CF) bronchiectasis disease progression, the bacterial species present in the lower airways of these patients is poorly characterised.

Objectives To provide a comprehensive cross-sectional analysis of bacterial content of lower airway samples from patients with non-CF bronchiectasis using culture-independent microbiology.

Methods Paired induced sputum and bronchoalveolar lavage samples, obtained from 41 adult patients with non-CF bronchiectasis, were analysed by 16S ribosomal RNA gene pyrosequencing. Assessment of species distribution and dispersal allowed ‘core’ and ‘satellite’ bacterial populations to be defined for this patient group. Microbiota characteristics correlated with clinical markers of disease.

Measurement and main results 140 bacterial species were identified, including those associated with respiratory tract infections and opportunistic infections more generally. A group of core species, consisting of species detected frequently and in high abundance, was defined. Core species included those currently associated with infection in bronchiectasis, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae, and many species that would be unlikely to be reported through standard diagnostic surveillance. These included members of the genera Veillonella, Prevotella and Neisseria. The comparative contribution of core and satellite groups suggested a low level of random species acquisition. Bacterial diversity was significantly positively correlated with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and bacterial community composition similarity correlated significantly with FEV1, neutrophil count and Leicester cough score.

Conclusions Characteristics of the lower airways microbiota of adult patients with non-CF bronchiectasis correlate significantly with clinical markers of disease severity.

  • Respiratory Infection
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Bacterial Infection
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