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Protection against neonatal respiratory viral infection via maternal treatment during pregnancy with the benign immune training agent OM‐85

Lauzon‐Joset, J‐F, Mincham, K.T., Scott, N.M., Khandan, Y., Stumbles, P.A., Holt, P.G. and Strickland, D.H. (2021) Protection against neonatal respiratory viral infection via maternal treatment during pregnancy with the benign immune training agent OM‐85. Clinical & Translational Immunology, 10 (7). Art. e1303.

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Incomplete maturation of immune regulatory functions at birth is antecedent to the heightened risk for severe respiratory infections during infancy. Our forerunner animal model studies demonstrated that maternal treatment with the microbial-derived immune training agent OM-85 during pregnancy promotes accelerated postnatal maturation of mechanisms that regulate inflammatory processes in the offspring airways. Here, we aimed to provide proof of concept for a novel solution to reduce the burden and potential long-term sequelae of severe early-life respiratory viral infection through maternal oral treatment during pregnancy with OM-85, already in widespread human clinical use.


In this study, we performed flow cytometry and targeted gene expression (RT-qPCR) analysis on lungs from neonatal offspring whose mothers received oral OM-85 treatment during pregnancy. We next determined whether neonatal offspring from OM-85 treated mothers demonstrate enhanced protection against lethal lower respiratory infection with mouse-adapted rhinovirus (vMC0), and associated lung immune changes.


Offspring from mothers treated with OM-85 during pregnancy display accelerated postnatal seeding of lung myeloid populations demonstrating upregulation of function-associated markers. Offspring from OM-85 mothers additionally exhibit enhanced expression of TLR4/7 and the IL-1β/NLRP3 inflammasome complex within the lung. These treatment effects were associated with enhanced capacity to clear an otherwise lethal respiratory viral infection during the neonatal period, with concomitant regulation of viral-induced IFN response intensity.


These results demonstrate that maternal OM-85 treatment protects offspring against lethal neonatal respiratory viral infection by accelerating development of innate immune mechanisms crucial for maintenance of local immune homeostasis in the face of pathogen challenge.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology, Inc.
Copyright: © 2021 The Authors.
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