Microbial Community Composition in Explanted Cystic Fibrosis and Control Donor Lungs

Gisli Einarsson, Bart Vanaudenaerde, Christopher D. Spence, Andrew J. Lee, Mieke Boon, Geert M. Verleden, J. Stuart Elborn, Lieven Dupont, Dirk Van Raemdonck, Deirdre F. Gilpin, Robin Vos, Stijn E. Verleden, Michael M. Tunney

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To date, investigations of the microbiota in the lungs of people with Cystic Fibrosis (PWCF) have primarily focused on microbial community composition in luminal mucus, with fewer studies observing the microbiota in tissue samples from explanted lung tissue. Here, we analysed both tissue and airway luminal mucus samples extracted from whole explanted lungs of PWCF and unused donor lungs. We determined if the lung microbiota in end-stage CF varied within and between patients, was spatially heterogeneous and related to localized structural damage. Microbial community composition was determined by Illumina MiSeq sequencing and related to the CF-Computed Tomography (CT) score and features of end-stage lung disease on micro-CT. Ninety-eight CF tissue (n=11 patients), 20 CF luminal mucus (n=8 patients) and 33 donor tissue (n=4 patients) samples were analysed. Additionally, we compared 20 paired CF tissue and luminal mucus samples that enabled a direct “geographical” comparison of the microbiota in these two niches. Significant differences in microbial communities were apparent between the 3 groups. However, overlap between the three groups, particularly between CF and donor tissue and CF tissue and CF luminal mucus was also observed. Microbial diversity was lower in CF luminal mucus compared to CF tissue, with dominance higher in luminal mucus. For both CF and donor tissue, intra- and inter-patient variability in ecological parameters was observed. No relationships were observed between ecological parameters and CF-CT score, or features of end-stage lung disease. The end-stage CF lung is characterised by a low diversity microbiota, differing within and between individuals. No clear relationship was observed between regional microbiota variation and structural lung damage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number764585
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2022


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