The respiratory tract is home to a diverse microbial community whose influence on local and systemic immune responses is only beginning to be appreciated. Increasing reports have linked changes in this microbiome to a range of pulmonary and extrapulmonary disorders, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Central to many of these findings is the role of IL-17-type immunity as an important driver of inflammation. Despite the crucial role played by IL-17-mediated immune responses in protection against infection, overt Th17 cell responses have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several chronic inflammatory diseases. However, our knowledge of the influence of bacteria that commonly colonise the respiratory tract on IL-17-driven inflammatory responses remains sparse. In this article, we review the current knowledge on the role of specific members of the airway microbiota in the modulation of IL-17-type immunity and discuss how this line of research may support the testing of susceptible individuals and targeting of inflammation at its earliest stages in the hope of preventing the development of chronic disease.
© 2022. The Author(s).