A bacterial community in your lungs doesn't sound like a good thing. But a new Michigan Medicine study in mice shows that bacteria in healthy lungs may play an important role in helping ward off disease. The research was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
"In this experiment, we compared the variation we find in lung immunity with the variation we find in bacteria in both the gut and lungs," says lead author Robert Dickson, M.D. (Fellowship 2014), assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine. "We found that lung immunity more closely reflects lung bacteria than it does bacteria in the upper or lower GI tract."
He adds: "Bacteria in the lungs are more numerous and more complex than we ever appreciated. This experiment shows that they're probably more immunologically important than we realized as well."