Oncostatin M expression induced by bacterial triggers drives airway inflammatory and mucus secretion in severe asthma

Sci Transl Med. 2022 Jan 12;14(627):eabf8188. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abf8188. Epub 2022 Jan 12.


Exacerbations of symptoms represent an unmet need for people with asthma. Bacterial dysbiosis and opportunistic bacterial infections have been observed in, and may contribute to, more severe asthma. However, the molecular mechanisms driving these exacerbations remain unclear. We show here that bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces oncostatin M (OSM) and that airway biopsies from patients with severe asthma present with an OSM-driven transcriptional profile. This profile correlates with activation of inflammatory and mucus-producing pathways. Using primary human lung tissue or human epithelial and mesenchymal cells, we demonstrate that OSM is necessary and sufficient to drive pathophysiological features observed in severe asthma after exposure to LPS or Klebsiella pneumoniae. These findings were further supported through blockade of OSM with an OSM-specific antibody. Single-cell RNA sequencing from human lung biopsies identified macrophages as a source of OSM. Additional studies using Osm-deficient murine macrophages demonstrated that macrophage-derived OSM translates LPS signals into asthma-associated pathologies. Together, these data provide rationale for inhibiting OSM to prevent bacterial-associated progression and exacerbation of severe asthma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mucus
  • Oncostatin M / genetics
  • Oncostatin M / metabolism*


  • OSM protein, human
  • Osm protein, mouse
  • Oncostatin M