Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae chronic colonization in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Bryn Short, Stephen Carson, Anna-Claire Devlin, James Reihill, Anne Crilly, William MacKay, Gordon Ramage, Craig Williams, Fionnuala Lundy, Lorcan McGarvey, Keith Thornbury, Lorraine Martin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Haemophilus influenzae is the most common cause of bacterial infection in the lungs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and contributes to episodes of acute exacerbation which are associated with increased hospitalization and mortality. Due to the ability of H. influenzae to adhere to host epithelial cells, initial colonization of the lower airways can progress to a persistent infection and biofilm formation. This is characterized by changes in bacterial behaviour such as reduced cellular metabolism and the production of an obstructive extracellular matrix (ECM). Herein we discuss the multiple mechanisms by which H. influenzae contributes to
the pathogenesis of COPD. In particular, mechanisms that facilitate bacterial adherence to host airway epithelial cells, biofilm formation, and microbial persistence through immune system evasion and antibiotic tolerance will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Reviews in Microbiology
Early online date18 Jan 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 18 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Gold open access.


  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • bacterial adherence
  • biofilm
  • COPD
  • NTHi


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