Live Biotherapeutics Drug Discovery Services for Respiratory Diseases


Respiratory diseases are responsible for high mortality worldwide. Probiotics are known to modulate the function of the immune system, and their role in reducing the risk and course of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) has been extensively studied in the past decade. Probiotic intervention can directly affect the composition of gut microbiota, which has been shown to regulate lung immune activity through the gut-lung axis, thereby alleviating respiratory diseases. Therefore, probiotics may become an alternative treatment for RTIs. With increasing evidence that probiotics have protective and therapeutic effects on respiratory diseases by optimizing gastrointestinal microbial balance, the mechanism by which probiotics regulate lung health and disease has become a research hotspot. Animal experiments and human studies have revealed the beneficial effects of probiotics on pulmonary viral infections such as influenza by regulating intestinal flora and intestinal immunity.

Role of Probiotics in Respiratory Tract Diseases

Probiotics play a significant role in preventing other types of respiratory problems such as asthma, allergic reactions, and chronic COPD, and can protect against infection of airways indirectly by enhancing respiratory immunity. Probiotics do this enhancement by interacting with gut-associated lymphoid tissues in Payer's patches. Probiotics can also modulate Treg response in the lung and other inflammatory cells such as Th17. The beneficial effects of Lactobacillus on the respiratory tract are strain-dependent, and different species or even different subspecies of Lactobacillus may have different effects. The use of Lactobacillus in the prevention and treatment of respiratory diseases is a promising strategy and is generally safe.

Fig.1 A healthy gut microbiota plays a protective role in the lung. (Chunxi, 2020)Fig.1 A healthy gut microbiota plays a protective role in the lung.1

Mechanism of Action of Probiotics in the Respiratory Tract

The mechanisms of action of different probiotics are often different. The most common hypotheses regarding probiotics are microbial-host interactions and microbial-microbial interactions. Gut bacteria modulate activation of interferons (IFNs) signaling, which is critical for responses against most viruses, and inflammasome activity, an intrinsic signaling pathway involved in the fight against a subset of viruses. In vitro data suggest that probiotics exert strain-specific immunomodulatory effects on host and immune cells by binding to TLRs that stimulate the IFN pathway. Probiotics are also effective in inhibiting the replication of a variety of respiratory viruses, including influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus. On the other hand, probiotics also affect the lung microbiota and exert anti-inflammatory effects. The health-promoting mechanism of lactic acid bacteria on the respiratory tract is complex, and the possible mechanisms include the gut-lung axis and the enhancement of local mucosal immunity in the respiratory tract. The same bacteria, administered orally or nasally, or even administered live and sterilized, may not have the same effect in promoting respiratory health.

The Gut Microbiota and Respiratory Diseases

Studies of the gut-lung axis in respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, and respiratory infections suggest that regulating the gut microbiota ecosystem by regulating the gut microbiota may prevent or at least improve these diseases.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway. Gut microbiota differs between healthy controls and asthma patients and is associated with the development and progression of asthma, and higher microbial diversity is generally considered to be beneficial.

Intragastric supplementation of Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium breve in COPD mice reduces airway inflammation and alveolar damage. Both probiotics also showed similar anti-inflammatory effects on cigarette smoke-induced inflammation in human macrophages in vitro.

Restoration of gut microbiota after probiotic supplementation was associated with improvement in CF. Lactobacillus supplementation increases microbial diversity, reduces gut bacterial density in CF patients, and has beneficial effects on exacerbation risk and quality of life in CF patients.

Probiotic administration appeared to have preferential effects on reducing rates of microbiologically confirmed VAP caused by Gram-negative pathogens. The use of Lactobacillus rhamnosus to prevent VAP is safe and effective in those at high risk of VAP.

An increasing number of studies support the beneficial effects of probiotics on lung and mental health by regulating the gut lung and gut-brain axes. Creative Biolabs offers multiple types of probiotics, including traditional and next-generation probiotics, as well as analysis related to probiotic research. We have a strong technical platform and experts to support your research on probiotics in the field of respiratory diseases, please feel free to contact us for more valuable information.


  1. Chunxi, Li, et al. "The gut microbiota and respiratory diseases: new evidence." Journal of immunology research 2020 (2020).

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