Bacteria in the mouth linked to pulmonary fibrosis survival

One bacterial species tended to dominate in certain patients with IPF who were not treated with antibiotics

1:50 PM

Author | Kelly Malcom

sketched out bacteria in a dish yellow and blue colors of U-M
Credit: Jake Dwyer, Justine Ross

Bacteria in the mouth may play a role in survival from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), finds a new study led by researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia.

The findings come from a larger analysis of the role of the lung microbiome and IPF. Working under the hypothesis that treatment with antibiotics could improve outcomes in patients with the disease, the CleanUP-IPF study includes the collection of cheek swabs and other samples to examine changes in bacterial populations. 

David O’Dwyer, M.D., Ph.D., of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at U-M Medical School, partnering with John Kom, M.D. and Imre Noth, M.D., of the University of Virginia and their team, saw an opportunity to also study the role of the oral microbiome in lung disease, as it is now generally accepted that bacteria from the mouth and throat are a major contributor to the lung microbiome. 

Using 16S rRNA analysis and other genetic techniques, the team extracted DNA from the cheek swabs to look for clues.

Surprisingly, they found that one bacterial species, Streptococcus mitis, tended to dominate in certain patients with IPF who were not treated with antibiotics. What’s more, those patients had better lung function and less severe disease—and ultimately, were more likely to survive.

To date, research has shown that a more diverse set of bacteria in the lungs and in the gut is reflective of better health. That does not hold true for the mouth, however, noted O’Dwyer. Streptococcus mitis tends to act as a gatekeeper toward other bacterial threats, including those that can cause periodontal disease, he said.

The team notably did not find the same protective relationship between oral Streptococcus mitis and IPF in patients who had received antibiotics. Future studies aim to further determine the various bacterial populations within the oral and lung environment in patients with IPF to understand the link between these microbiomes and disease.

Citation: “Commensal Oral Microbiota, Disease Severity and Mortality in Fibrotic Lung Disease.” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, DOI: 10.1164/rccm.202308-1357OC     

 


More Articles About: Basic Science and Laboratory Research Lungs and Breathing Lung Disease Lung Function Pulmonary Fibrosis Oral Surgery & Dentistry
Health Lab word mark overlaying blue cells
Health Lab

Explore a variety of healthcare news & stories by visiting the Health Lab home page for more articles.

Media Contact Public Relations

Department of Communication at Michigan Medicine

[email protected]

734-764-2220

Stay Informed

Want top health & research news weekly? Sign up for Health Lab’s newsletters today!

Subscribe
Featured News & Stories teal persons body looks like a puzzle red heart top right of shoulder and chest getting placed into missing piece spot
Health Lab
Normothermic perfusion system extends life of organs waiting for transplant
A team of researchers have spent the past eight years looking at better ways to transport organs for donation, specifically hearts, to improve the number of organs that can be used for transplants. They found that using a modified normothermic perfusion system heart preservation was feasible for up to 24 hours.
left mom and son holding hands in blue long sleeves with medals on after run and on right young man standing in red sleeves top with sunglasses on sunny smiling
Health Lab
Despite tremendous hurdles, a young man is thankful for “the ultimate gift of life”
Young man with cystic fibrosis gets organ donation that changes his life
yellow grey heart black background
Health Lab
Researchers create human aortic aneurysm model to advance disease understanding, treatment testing
Using human cells in an animal body, a team of researchers has developed a functional model of thoracic aortic aneurysm, creating opportunities for more effective understanding of disease development and treatments for the potentially fatal condition.
stethoscope
Health Lab
Too much iron can cause big problems for the immune system
A study builds on previous work that found depriving T cells of iron prevented cells from proliferating. The current study, published in PNAS, found that excess iron is just as problematic.
uti written on empty roll of toliet paper on a toliet paper holder with hot pink background
Health Lab
How E. coli get the power to cause urinary tract infections
Research published in PNAS examines how the bacteria Escherichia coli, or E. coli—responsible for most UTIs—is able to use host nutrients to reproduce at an extraordinarily rapid pace during infection despite the near sterile environment of fresh urine.
Xray of a stem cell in a mouse brain.
Health Lab
Stem cells improve memory, reduce inflammation in Alzheimer’s mouse brains
Researchers improved memory and reduced neuroinflammation in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s Disease, suggesting another avenue for potential treatment.