INTRODUCTION: Damage to the respiratory epithelium, is often a multifactorial phenomenon. The risk for developing a damage in respiratory epithelium and recurrent respiratory infections may vary among individuals. Preventive measures are based on strengthening the immune function, thus increasing the natural response to pathogens. Immunomodulatory agents are: i. synthetic molecules; ii. Probiotics, prebiotics, symbiotics; iii. Lysates, bacterial extracts immunomodulators: OM-85, RU 41740, D53; iv. Trace elements, vitamins. OM-85 is used for the prevention of recurrent respiratory tract infections and/or exacerbations both in adults and children, showing a good efficacy and safety profile. Its active principle, an extract of bacterial lysates isolated from 21 known respiratory pathogenic strains, shows protection against airway infections of bacterial and viral origin.
AREAS COVERED: This non-systematic review focuses on bacterial lysates and in particular on OM-85 and its effects on respiratory epithelium function and activity in asthma respiratory infections. Studies were selected by PubMed search of "bacterial lysate" or "OM-85" and "respiratory epithelium" or "respiratory infections", from 1993 to 2019.
EXPERT OPINION: Results highlight the ability of OM-85 to trigger immunomodulatory and protective immune responses against different pathogens in vivo, including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus as well bacterial superinfection following influenza.