Persistent and Recurrent Bacterial Bronchitis-A Paradigm Shift in Our Understanding of Chronic Respiratory Disease

Alya Ishak, Mark L. Everard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    The recent recognition that the conducting airways are not "sterile" and that they have their own dynamic microbiome, together with the rapid advances in our understanding of microbial biofilms and their roles in the causation of respiratory diseases (such as chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, and chronic otitis media), permit us to update the "vicious circle" hypothesis of the causation of bronchiectasis. This proposes that chronic inflammation driven by persistent bacterial bronchitis (PBB) causes damage to both the epithelium, resulting in impaired mucociliary clearance, and to the airway wall, which eventually manifests as bronchiectasis. The link between a "chronic bronchitis" and a persistence of bacterial pathogens, such as non-typable Haemophilus influenzae, was first made more than 100 years ago, and its probable role in the causation of bronchiectasis was proposed soon afterward. The recognition that the "usual suspects" are adept at forming biofilms and hence are able to persist and dominate the normal dynamically changing "healthy microbiome" of the conducting airways provides an explanation for the chronic colonization of the bronchi and for the associated chronic neutrophil-dominated inflammation characteristic of a PBB. Understanding the complex interaction between the host and the microbial communities of the conducting airways in health and disease will be a key component in optimizing pulmonary health in the future.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number19
    Number of pages9
    JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2017


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