The adult nasopharyngeal microbiome as a determinant of pneumococcal acquisition.
Cremers AJ., Zomer AL., Gritzfeld JF., Ferwerda G., van Hijum SA., Ferreira DM., Shak JR., Klugman KP., Boekhorst J., Timmerman HM., de Jonge MI., Gordon SB., Hermans PW.
BACKGROUND: Several cohort studies have indicated associations between S. pneumoniae and other microbes in the nasopharynx. To study causal relationships between the nasopharyngeal microbiome and pneumococcal carriage, we employed an experimental human pneumococcal carriage model. Healthy adult volunteers were assessed for pneumococcal carriage by culture of nasal wash samples (NWS). Those without natural pneumococcal carriage received an intranasal pneumococcal inoculation with serotype 6B or 23F. The composition of the nasopharyngeal microbiome was longitudinally studied by 16S rDNA pyrosequencing on NWS collected before and after challenge. RESULTS: Among 40 selected volunteers, 10 were natural carriers and 30 were experimentally challenged. At baseline, five distinct nasopharyngeal microbiome profiles were identified. The phylogenetic distance between microbiomes of natural pneumococcal carriers was particularly large compared to non-carriers. A more diverse microbiome prior to inoculation was associated with the establishment of pneumococcal carriage. Perturbation of microbiome diversity upon pneumococcal challenge was strain specific. Shifts in microbiome profile occurred after pneumococcal exposure, and those volunteers who acquired carriage more often diverted from their original profile. S. pneumoniae was little prominent in the microbiome of pneumococcal carriers. CONCLUSION: Pneumococcal acquisition in healthy adults is more likely to occur in a diverse microbiome and appears to promote microbial heterogeneity.