Role of the lung microbiome in HIV pathogenesis

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Purpose of review

The purpose of this review is to summarize recent findings on the lung microbiome in HIV-infected patients and associated pulmonary diseases, and the relationship of airway microbial communities to metabolic and immune signatures within this patient population.

Recent findings

The lung microbiome in HIV infection is a relatively new and rapidly developing field; early studies in the field produced inconclusive evidence as to whether HIV-infection changes the lower airway microbiome. More recent microbiome investigations have addressed these inconsistencies by incorporating systems biology approaches and laboratory models. Several investigations have now identified enrichment of Prevotella, Veillonella, and Streptococcus in the lower airways as consistent correlates of advanced HIV-infection and HIV-associated pulmonary diseases. These bacteria are associated with specific metabolic and immune profiles within the lung and circulation, providing the first indication that the lung microbiome may play a functional role in the pathogenesis of HIV-infection and HIV-associated pulmonary disease.


This review summarizes knowledge to date on the lung microbiome in HIV infection, as well as challenges and accomplishments in the field within the last 2 years. Although the lung microbiome in HIV infection is still an emerging field, recent studies have formed a framework for future functional analysis of microbes in HIV pathogenesis.

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