Respiratory infectious diseases – Viral-bacterial interactions


English: Conducting passages of the human resp...

English: Conducting passages of the human respiratory system (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Respiratory infectious diseases are mainly caused by viruses or bacteria that often interact with one another. Although their presence is a prerequisite for subsequent infections, viruses and bacteria may be present in the nasopharynx without causing any respiratory symptoms. The upper respiratory tract hosts a vast range of commensals and potential pathogenic bacteria, which form a complex microbial community. This community is assumed to be constantly subject to synergistic and competitive interspecies interactions. Disturbances in the equilibrium, for instance due to the acquisition of new bacteria or viruses, may lead to overgrowth and invasion. A better understanding of the dynamics between commensals and pathogens in the upper respiratory tract may provide better insight into the pathogenesis of respiratory diseases

This review summarizes the current knowledge on the mechanisms underlying bacterial and viral interactions in the respiratory tract. Although colonization of both respiratory bacteria and viruses is mostly asymptomatic, synergistic and competitive interspecies interactions appear to occur, potentially influencing and disturbing the natural equilibrium of the complex microbiota at the nasopharyngeal niche.

Viral-Bacterial Interactions

Here, authors propose a multidimensional interaction model that underlines the complexity of interactions between potential pathogenic bacteria and respiratory viruses. Completing this model of interspecies interaction in the future will provide a better understanding of the dynamics of the complete respiratory ecosystem and may provide us with new insights into the potential role of an imbalanced equilibrium in the pathogenesis of respiratory disease—possibly the true key to disease.

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