Nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal samples are commonly used to direct therapy for lower respiratory tract infections in non-expectorating infants with cystic fibrosis (CF). We aimed to investigate the concordance between the bacterial community compositions of 25 sets of nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples from 17 infants with CF aged ∼5 months (n=13) and ∼12 months (n=12) using conventional culturing and 16S-rRNA sequencing. Clustering analyses demonstrated that BAL microbiota profiles were in general characterised by a mixture of oral and nasopharyngeal bacteria, including commensals like Streptococcus, Neisseria, Veillonella and Rothia spp. and potential pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella spp. Within each individual, however, the degree of concordance differed between microbiota of both upper respiratory tract niches and the corresponding BAL. The inconsistent intra-individual concordance between microbiota of the upper and lower respiratory niches suggests that the lungs of infants with CF may have their own microbiome that seems seeded by, but is not identical to, the upper respiratory tract microbiome.

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Journal The European Respiratory Journal
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Prevaes, S.M.P.J, de Steenhuijsen Piters, W.A.A, De Winter-De Groot, K.M, Janssens, H.M, Tramper-Stranders, G.A, Chu, M.L.J.N. (Mei Ling J.N.), … v.d. Bogaert, D.P. (2017). Concordance between upper and lower airway microbiota in infants with cystic fibrosis. The European Respiratory Journal, 49(3). doi:10.1183/13993003.02235-2016