Maternal gut microbiome regulates immunity to rsv infectioninoffspring

Wendy Fonseca, Carrie Anne Malinczak, Kei Fujimura, Danny Li, Kathryn McCauley, Jia Li, Shannon K.K. Best, Diana Zhu, Andrew J. Rasky, Christine C. Johnson, Jennifer Bermick, Edward M. Zoratti, Dennis Ownby, Susan V. Lynch, Nicholas W. Lukacs, Catherine Ptaschinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Development of the immune system can be influenced by diverse extrinsic and intrinsic factors that influence the risk of disease. Severe early life respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is associated with persistent immune alterations. Previously, our group had shown that adult mice orally supplemented with Lactobacillus johnsonii exhibited decreased airway immunopathology following RSV infection. Here, we demonstrate that offspring of mice supplemented with L. johnsonii exhibit reduced airway mucus and Th2 cell–mediated response to RSV infection. Maternal supplementation resulted in a consistent gut microbiome in mothers and their offspring. Importantly, supplemented maternal plasma and breastmilk, and offspring plasma, exhibited decreased inflammatory metabolites. Cross-fostering studies showed that prenatal Lactobacillus exposure led to decreased Th2 cytokines and lung inflammation following RSV infection, while postnatal Lactobacillus exposure diminished goblet cell hypertrophy and mucus production in the lung in response to airway infection. These studies demonstrate that Lactobacillus modulation of the maternal microbiome and associated metabolic reprogramming enhance airway protection against RSV in neonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20210235
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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