Alterations of pulmonary microbiome have been recognized in multiple respiratory disorders. It is critically important to ascertain if an airway microbiome exists at birth and if so, whether it is associated with subsequent lung disease. Investigators found an established diverse and similar airway microbiome at birth in both preterm and term infants, which was more diverse and different from that of older preterm infants with established chronic lung disease.
These results, taken together with previous literature indicating a placental and amniotic fluid microbiome, suggest fetal acquisition of an airway microbiome. Investigators speculate that the early airway microbiome may prime the developing pulmonary immune system, and dysbiosis in its development may set the stage for subsequent lung disease.