Respiratory viral infections play central roles in the initiation, exacerbation and progression of asthma in humans. An acute paramyxoviral infection in mice can cause a chronic lung disease that resembles human asthma. We sought to determine whether reduction of Sendai virus lung burden in mice by stimulating innate immunity with aerosolized Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists could attenuate the severity of chronic asthma-like lung disease.
Mice were treated by aerosol with 1 μM oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) M362, an agonist of the TLR9 homodimer, and 4 μM Pam2CSK4 (Pam2), an agonist of the TLR2/6 heterodimer, within a few days before or after Sendai virus challenge.
Treatment with ODN/Pam2 caused ~75% reduction in lung Sendai virus burden five days after challenge. The reduction in acute lung virus burden was associated with marked reductions 49 days after viral challenge in eosinophilic and lymphocytic lung inflammation, airway mucous metaplasia, lumenal mucus occlusion, and hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. Mechanistically, ODN/Pam2 treatment attenuated the chronic asthma phenotype by suppressing IL-33 production by type 2 pneumocytes, both by reducing the severity of acute infection and by downregulating Type 2 (allergic) inflammation.
These data suggest that treatment of susceptible human hosts with aerosolized ODN and Pam2 at the time of a respiratory viral infection might attenuate the severity of the acute infection and reduce initiation, exacerbation, and progression of asthma.

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