Lung infections in cystic fibrosis: Deriving clinical insight from microbial complexity

Geraint B. Rogers, Franziska A. Stressmann, Alan W. Walker, Mary P. Carroll, Kenneth D. Bruce

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Lower respiratory tract bacterial infections, such as those associated with cystic fibrosis lung disease, represent a major healthcare burden. Treatment strategies are currently informed by culture-based routine diagnostics whose limitations, including an inability to isolate all potentially clinically significant bacterial species present in a sample, are well documented. Some advances have resulted from the introduction of culture-independent molecular assays for the detection of specific pathogens. However, the application of bacterial community profiling techniques to the characterization of these infections has revealed much higher levels of microbial diversity than previously recognized. These findings are leading to a fundamental shift in the way such infections are considered. Increasingly, polymicrobial infections are being viewed as complex communities of interacting organisms, with dynamic processes key to their pathogenicity. Such a model requires an analytical strategy that provides insight into the interactions of all members of the infective community. The rapid advance in sequencing technology, along with protocols that limit analysis to viable bacterial cells, are for the first time providing an opportunity to gain such insight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-196
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Review of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacterial community
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Lung infections
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Propidium monoazide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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