Streptococcus pneumoniae infection suppresses allergic airways disease by inducing regulatory T-cells.
BACKGROUND Asthma is a common global health problem. Environmental exposures such as bacteria may protect against asthma development. OBJECTIVE This review aims to examine the possible protective role of pneumococcal infection and vaccination in asthma. METHODS A review of known experimental biology and human epidemiology relating to asthma and pneumococcal infection was performed. RESULTS Pneumococcal infection can modulate components of allergic airways disease such as airways hyperresponsiveness and airway eosinophilia. Exposure to killed pneumococcus can reproduce these effects and the mechanism may involve control by T regulatory cells. CONCLUSIONS Pneumococcal immunoregulatory therapy is a potentially important approach to asthma management that requires further evaluation in well-designed research studies.