Airway Microbiota-Host Interactions Regulate Secretory Leukocyte Protease Inhibitor Levels and Influence Allergic Airway Inflammation

Cell Rep. 2020 Nov 3;33(5):108331. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108331.


Homeostatic mucosal immune responses are fine-tuned by naturally evolved interactions with native microbes, and integrating these relationships into experimental models can provide new insights into human diseases. Here, we leverage a murine-adapted airway microbe, Bordetella pseudohinzii (Bph), to investigate how chronic colonization impacts mucosal immunity and the development of allergic airway inflammation (AAI). Colonization with Bph induces the differentiation of interleukin-17A (IL-17A)-secreting T-helper cells that aid in controlling bacterial abundance. Bph colonization protects from AAI and is associated with increased production of secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI), an antimicrobial peptide with anti-inflammatory properties. These findings are additionally supported by clinical data showing that higher levels of upper respiratory SLPI correlate both with greater asthma control and the presence of Haemophilus, a bacterial genus associated with AAI. We propose that SLPI could be used as a biomarker of beneficial host-commensal relationships in the airway.

Keywords: Bordetella pseudohinzii; Haemophilus; T helper 17 (Th17); airway microbiome; airway microbiota; allergic airway inflammation; antimicrobial peptide; asthma; interleukin-17 (IL-17); secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • A549 Cells
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antigens / metabolism
  • Bordetella / physiology
  • Child
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Host Microbial Interactions* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity / microbiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / pathology*
  • Immunity
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / microbiology
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / microbiology*
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microbiota*
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Secretory Leukocyte Peptidase Inhibitor / metabolism*
  • Th17 Cells / immunology
  • Transcriptome / genetics
  • Young Adult


  • Antigens
  • Secretory Leukocyte Peptidase Inhibitor
  • Ovalbumin

Supplementary concepts

  • Bordetella pseudohinzii