Laryngotracheal microbiota in adult laryngotracheal stenosis

Alexander T. Hillel, Sharon S. Tang, Camila Carlos, Joseph H. Skarlupka, Madhu Gowda, Linda X. Yin, Kevin Motz, Cameron R. Currie, Garret Suen, Susan L. Thibeault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Laryngotracheal stenosis is an obstructive respiratory disease that leads to voicing difficulties and dyspnea with potential life-threatening consequences. The majority of incidences are due to iatrogenic etiology from endotracheal tube intubation; however, airway scarring also has idiopathic causes. While recent evidence suggests a microbial contribution to mucosal inflammation, the microbiota associated with different types of stenosis has not been characterized. High-throughput sequencing of the V4 region of the16S rRNA gene was performed to characterize the microbial communities of 61 swab samples from 17 iatrogenic and 10 adult idiopathic stenosis patients. Nonscar swabs from stenosis patients were internal controls, and eight swabs from four patients without stenosis represented external controls. Significant differences in diversity were observed between scar and nonscar samples and among sample sites, with decreased diversity detected in scar samples and the glottis region. Permutational analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) results revealed significant differences in community composition for scar versus nonscar samples, etiology type, sample site, groups (iatrogenic, idiopathic, and internal and external controls), and individual patients. Pairwise Spearman's correlation revealed a strong inverse correlation between Prevotella and Streptococcus among all samples. Finally, bacteria in the family Moraxellaceae were found to be distinctly associated with idiopathic stenosis samples in comparison with external controls. Our findings suggest that specific microbiota and community shifts are present with laryngotracheal stenosis in adults, with members of the family Moraxellaceae, including the known pathogens Moraxella and Acinetobacter, identified in idiopathic scar. Further work is warranted to elucidate the contributing role of bacteria on the pathogenesis of laryngotracheal stenosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00211-19
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Acinetobacter
  • Fibrosis
  • Laryngotracheal stenosis
  • Moraxella
  • Subglottic stenosis
  • Upper airway microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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