Airway administration of OM-85, a bacterial lysate, blocks experimental asthma by targeting dendritic cells and the epithelium/IL-33/ILC2 axis

Vadim Pivniouk, Joao A. Gimenes-Junior, Peace Ezeh, Ashley Michael, Oksana Pivniouk, Seongmin Hahn, Sydney R. VanLinden, Sean P. Malone, Amir Abidov, Dayna Anderson, Justyna Gozdz, Avery DeVries, Fernando Martinez, Christian Pasquali, Donata Vercelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: Microbial interventions against allergic asthma have robust epidemiologic underpinnings and the potential to recalibrate disease-inducing immune responses. Oral administration of OM-85, a standardized lysate of human airways bacteria, is widely used empirically to prevent respiratory infections and a clinical trial is testing its ability to prevent asthma in high-risk children. We previously showed that intranasal administration of microbial products from farm environments abrogates experimental allergic asthma. Objectives: We sought to investigate whether direct administration of OM-85 to the airway compartment protects against experimental allergic asthma; and to identify protective cellular and molecular mechanisms activated through this natural route. Methods: Different strains of mice sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin or Alternaria received OM-85 intranasally, and cardinal cellular and molecular asthma phenotypes were measured. Airway transfer experiments assessed whether OM-85–treated dendritic cells protect allergen-sensitized, OM-85–naive mice against asthma. Results: Airway OM-85 administration suppressed allergic asthma in all models acting on multiple innate and adaptive immune targets: the airway epithelium/IL-33/ILC2 axis, lung allergen–induced type 2 responses, and dendritic cells whose Myd88/Trif-dependent tolerogenic reprogramming was sufficient to transfer OM-85–induced asthma protection. Conclusions: We provide the first demonstration that administering a standardized bacterial lysate to the airway compartment protects from experimental allergic asthma by engaging multiple immune pathways. Because protection required a cumulative dose 27- to 46-fold lower than the one reportedly active through the oral route, the efficacy of intranasal OM-85 administration may reflect its direct access to the airway mucosal networks controlling the initiation and development of allergic asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-956
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Bacterial lysate
  • OM-85
  • adaptive immunity
  • airway compartment
  • allergic inflammation
  • asthma
  • innate immunity
  • intranasal route
  • microbial interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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