Role of the microbiome in respiratory disease


  • Megan C. Niederwerder Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology and Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, 1800 Denison Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66506



microbiome, respiratory disease, respiratory infection


"Microbiome” is a term used to describe the community of microorganisms that live on and within vertebrate hosts. These microorganisms primarily live in the gastrointestinal tract and play an important role in nutrient digestion and development of immunity. Understanding the role of the gut microbiome in health and disease is a new and exciting field of study. For decades, the focus on managing infectious disease has been on the pathogen(s) of interest, virtually ignoring the role of beneficial microbes in potentiating or eliminating disease. In addition, initial research evaluating the role of the microbiome in disease was centered on enteric pathogens, due to the inherent proximity of pathogenic and nonpathogenic microorganisms in the digestive tract. However, recent investigations have revealed the potential role of the microbiome in diseases outside the gastrointestinal tract, such as neurologic, respiratory, and autoimmune diseases. Considering the role of the microbiome in clinical disease and decreased performance associated with respiratory infections, this area of research becomes even more relevant to food animal production. The objective of this paper is to review associations between the gut microbiome and outcome during infectious respiratory disease in animals.






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