Int J Med Sci 2019; 16(3):477-485. doi:10.7150/ijms.29433 This issue

Research Paper

Airway Microbiome in Different Inflammatory Phenotypes of Asthma: A Cross-Sectional Study in Northeast China

Zhiqiang Pang1, Guoqiang Wang1, Peter Gibson2, Xuewa Guan1, Weijie Zhang3, Ruipeng Zheng1,4, Fang Chen1, Ziyan Wang1, Fang Wang1✉

1. Department of Pathogen Biology, College of Basic Medical Sciences, Jilin University, Changchun, China;
2. Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, Australia;
3. Third Department of Respiratory Disease, Jilin Provincial People's Hospital, Changchun, China;
4. Department of Interventional Therapy, Bethune First Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun, China.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Pang Z, Wang G, Gibson P, Guan X, Zhang W, Zheng R, Chen F, Wang Z, Wang F. Airway Microbiome in Different Inflammatory Phenotypes of Asthma: A Cross-Sectional Study in Northeast China. Int J Med Sci 2019; 16(3):477-485. doi:10.7150/ijms.29433. Available from

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Background and Objective: Asthma is a common respiratory disease with a high prevalence and morbidity that can seriously affect quality of life. Microbial colonization of the airway may participate in the pathogenesis of asthma, however the mechanisms involved have not been established. In the present study, we aimed to determine the composition of the microbiota in different asthmatic phenotypes from Northeast China.

Methods: 24 mild-to-moderate asthmatics (10 eosinophilic asthma and 14 non-eosinophilic asthma) and 12 healthy volunteers participated in this cross-sectional study. DNA was extracted from their induced sputum and amplified for 16s rRNA gene sequencing on Illumina Miseq platform. Bioinformatic analysis on the microbiome was performed.

Results: Alpha-diversity analysis showed that the asthmatics had a decreased richness, evenness and diversity. Non-eosinophilic asthmatics showed a decreased richness, evenness and diversity compared with eosinophilic patients. A different taxonomy of 1 phylum and 6 genera taxa between the phenotypes was identified. Compared with heathy controls, asthmatics existed a larger taxonomic difference (P<0.05 for both EA and NEA vs. HC). 5 genera as the dominance in the microbial co-occurrence network correlated with the spirometry and disease progression of asthma. The function of microbiota genes was predicted to be related with infectious, immune and metabolic diseases.

Conclusion: The diversity and composition of the airway microbiome was associated with the pathogenesis of asthma in different phenotypes. The diverse composition has been identified in the present study.

Keywords: asthma, microbiota, eosinophils, neutrophils, phenotype