The gut microbiome is a significant risk factor for future chronic lung disease

Yang Liu, Shu Mei Teo, Guillaume Méric, Howard H.F. Tang, Qiyun Zhu, Jon G. Sanders, Yoshiki Vázquez-Baeza, Karin Verspoor, Ville A. Vartiainen, Pekka Jousilahti, Leo Lahti, Teemu Niiranen, Aki S. Havulinna, Rob Knight, Veikko Salomaa, Michael Inouye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: The gut-lung axis is generally recognized, but there are few large studies of the gut microbiome and incident respiratory disease in adults. Objective: We sought to investigate the association and predictive capacity of the gut microbiome for incident asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Methods: Shallow metagenomic sequencing was performed for stool samples from a prospective, population-based cohort (FINRISK02; N = 7115 adults) with linked national administrative health register–derived classifications for incident asthma and COPD up to 15 years after baseline. Generalized linear models and Cox regressions were used to assess associations of microbial taxa and diversity with disease occurrence. Predictive models were constructed using machine learning with extreme gradient boosting. Models considered taxa abundances individually and in combination with other risk factors, including sex, age, body mass index, and smoking status. Results: A total of 695 and 392 statistically significant associations were found between baseline taxonomic groups and incident asthma and COPD, respectively. Gradient boosting decision trees of baseline gut microbiome abundance predicted incident asthma and COPD in the validation data sets with mean area under the curves of 0.608 and 0.780, respectively. Cox analysis showed that the baseline gut microbiome achieved higher predictive performance than individual conventional risk factors, with C-indices of 0.623 for asthma and 0.817 for COPD. The integration of the gut microbiome and conventional risk factors further improved prediction capacities. Conclusions: The gut microbiome is a significant risk factor for incident asthma and incident COPD and is largely independent of conventional risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-952
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • COPD
  • Gut
  • asthma
  • metagenomics
  • microbiome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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