Bacterial Community Interactions During Chronic Respiratory Disease
Chronic respiratory diseases including chronic rhinosinusitis, otitis media, asthma, cystic fibrosis, non-CF bronchiectasis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are a major public health burden. Patients suffering from chronic respiratory disease are prone to persistent, debilitating respiratory infections due to the decreased ability to clear pathogens from the respiratory tract. Such infections often develop into chronic, life-long complications that are difficult to treat with antibiotics due to the formation of recalcitrant biofilms. The microbial communities present in the upper and lower respiratory tracts change as these respiratory diseases progress, often becoming less diverse and dysbiotic, correlating with worsening patient morbidity. Those with chronic respiratory disease are commonly infected with a shared group of respiratory pathogens including Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Moraxella catarrhalis, among others. In order to understand the microbial landscape of the respiratory tract during chronic disease, we review the known inter-species interactions among these organisms and other common respiratory flora. We consider both the balance between cooperative and competitive interactions in relation to microbial community structure. By reviewing the major causes of chronic respiratory disease, we identify common features across disease states and signals that might contribute to community shifts. As microbiome shifts have been associated with respiratory disease progression, worsening morbidity, and increased mortality, these underlying community interactions likely have an impact on respiratory disease state.