New research suggests that the lung microbiome plays a significant role in asthma severity and response to treatment.
Asthma is a chronic disease in which lung airways become swollen and narrow, making it difficult for air to move in and out of lungs. Because people with asthma have inflamed airways, they experience a range of symptoms, including shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and chest tightness.
In a group of clinically similar patients with asthma, researchers identified two asthma phenotypes by assessing the microbiome and airway inflammation. The patients were ages 18 to 30 with mild or moderate atopic asthma.
“This tells us the microbiome has relevance beyond the gut, and that it is a potential biomarker for asthma,” said Dr David Perkins, professor of medicine and surgery at UIC, who jointly operates the lab with Finn.