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    Infection and rejection are the two most common complications after lung transplantation (LT) and are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. We aimed to examine the association between the airway microbiota and infection and rejection in lung transplant recipients (LTRs). Here, we collected 181 sputum samples (event-free, n = 47; infection, n = 103; rejection, n = 31) from 59 LTRs, and performed 16S rRNA gene sequencing to analyze the airway microbiota. A significantly different airway microbiota was observed among event-free, infection and rejection recipients, including microbial diversity and community composition. Nineteen differential taxa were identified by linear discriminant analysis (LDA) effect size (LEfSe), with 6 bacterial genera, Actinomyces, Rothia, Abiotrophia, Neisseria, Prevotella, and Leptotrichia enriched in LTRs with rejection. Random forest analyses indicated that the combination of the 6 genera and procalcitonin (PCT) and T-lymphocyte levels showed area under the curve (AUC) values of 0.898, 0.919 and 0.895 to differentiate between event-free and infection recipients, event-free and rejection recipients, and infection and rejection recipients, respectively. In conclusion, our study compared the airway microbiota between LTRs with infection and acute rejection. The airway microbiota, especially combined with PCT and T-lymphocyte levels, showed satisfactory predictive efficiency in discriminating among clinically stable recipients and those with infection and acute rejection, suggesting that the airway microbiota can be a potential indicator to differentiate between infection and acute rejection after LT. IMPORTANCE Survival after LT is limited compared with other solid organ transplantations mainly due to infection- and rejection-related complications. Differentiating infection from rejection is one of the most important challenges to face after LT. Recently, the airway microbiota has been reported to be associated with either infection or rejection of LTRs. However, fewer studies have investigated the relationship between airway microbiota together with infection and rejection of LTRs. Here, we conducted an airway microbial study of LTRs and analyzed the airway microbiota together with infection, acute rejection, and clinically stable recipients. We found different airway microbiota between infection and acute rejection and identify several genera associated with each outcome and constructed a model that incorporates airway microbiota and clinical parameters to predict outcome. This study highlighted that the airway microbiota was a potential indicator to differentiate between infection and acute rejection after LT.


    Jin Su, Chun-Xi Li, Hai-Yue Liu, Qiao-Yan Lian, Ao Chen, Zhi-Xuan You, Kun Li, Yu-Hang Cai, Yan-Xia Lin, Jian-Bing Pan, Guo-Xia Zhang, Chun-Rong Ju, Chang-Xuan You, Jian-Xing He. The Airway Microbiota Signatures of Infection and Rejection in Lung Transplant Recipients. Microbiology spectrum. 2022 Apr 27;10(2):e0034421

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    PMID: 35416686

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