Your gut health linked to deadly lung disease COPD

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In a new study, researchers found for the first time a link between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an often fatal lung condition, and the gut microbiome.

The findings suggest that the gut may be helpful in diagnosing COPD and may also be a potential source of new therapies to help treat chronic respiratory disorder.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Technology Sydney and elsewhere.

COPD, a life-threatening inflammatory disorder of the lungs, is the third most common cause of death globally. More than 3 million lives are lost every year to COPD.

It’s already known that the lung microbiome is a contributing factor in COPD.

In the study, the researchers compared the microbiome and metabolite profiles of stool samples from COPD patients with healthy people.

They found COPD patients had increased levels of the bacteria Streptococcus and Lachnospiraceae in their stool samples.

Also identified in people with COPD was a unique metabolite signature–formed by the chemical by-products of the metabolic process.

The research indicates that the gut of COPD patients is notably different from healthy individuals.

This suggests that stool sampling and analysis could be used to non-invasively diagnose and monitor for COPD.

The researchers believe that the altered gut microbiome found in COPD patients could also support the gut as a potential target for new treatments.

They say the ‘gut-lung axis’ describes the common immune system of the lung and gastrointestinal tract. This means that activity in the gut can impact activity in the lung.

The current COPD findings suggest that gut microbiome should now also be considered when looking for new therapeutic targets to help treat lung disease.

One author of the study is Professor Phil Hansbro, Director of the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation.

The study is published in Nature Communications.

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