Informed development of a multi-species biofilm in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Bryn Short, Christopher Delaney, William Johnston, Gary J. Litherland, John C. Lockhart, Craig Williams, William G. Mackay, Gordon Ramage*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Recent evidence indicates that microbial biofilm aggregates inhabit the lungs of COPD patients and actively contribute towards chronic colonization and repeat infections. However, there are no contextually relevant complex biofilm models for COPD research. In this study, a meta-analysis of the lung microbiome in COPD was used to inform development of an optimized biofilm model composed of genera highly associated with COPD. Bioinformatic analysis showed that although diversity matrices of COPD microbiomes were similar to healthy controls, and internal compositions made it possible to accurately differentiate between these cohorts (AUC = 0.939). Genera that best defined these patients included Haemophilus, Moraxella and Streptococcus. Many studies fail to account for fungi; therefore, Candida albicans was included in the creation of an interkingdom biofilm model. These organisms formed a biofilm capable of tolerating high concentrations of antimicrobial therapies with no significant reductions in viability. However, combined therapies of antibiotics and an antifungal resulted in significant reductions in viable cells throughout the biofilm (p < 0.05). This biofilm model is representative of the COPD lung microbiome and results from in vitro antimicrobial challenge experiments indicate that targeting both bacteria and fungi in these interkingdom communities will be required for more positive clinical outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-347
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Early online date21 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • COPD
  • biofilm
  • microbiome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Immunology and Allergy


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