Background: Early life acute respiratory infection (ARI) with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been strongly associated with the development of childhood wheezing illnesses, but the pathways underlying this association are poorly understood. Objective: To examine the role of the nasopharyngeal microbiome in the development of childhood wheezing illnesses following RSV ARI in infancy. Methods: We conducted a nested cohort study of 118 previously healthy, term infants with confirmed RSV ARI by RT-PCR. We used next-generation sequencing of the V4 region of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene to characterize the nasopharyngeal microbiome during RSV ARI. Our main outcome of interest was 2-year subsequent wheeze. Results: Of the 118 infants, 113 (95.8%) had 2-year outcome data. Of these, 46 (40.7%) had parental report of subsequent wheeze. There was no association between the overall taxonomic composition, diversity, and richness of the nasopharyngeal microbiome during RSV ARI with the development of subsequent wheeze. However, the nasopharyngeal detection and abundance of Lactobacillus was consistently higher in infants who did not develop this outcome. Lactobacillus also ranked first among the different genera in a model distinguishing infants with and without subsequent wheeze. Conclusions: The nasopharyngeal detection and increased abundance of Lactobacillus during RSV ARI in infancy are associated with a reduced risk of childhood wheezing illnesses at age 2 years.
- 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing
- respiratory syncytial virus