The impact of high salt diet on asthma in humans and mice: effect on specific T-cell signatures and microbiome.

Musiol S, Harris CP, Gschwendtner S, Burrell A, Amar Y, Schnautz B, Renisch D, Braun SC, Haak S, Schloter M, Schmidt-Weber CB, Zielinski CE#, Alessandrini F (2024) The impact of high salt diet on asthma in humans and mice: effect on specific T-cell signatures and microbiome. Allergy 79(7), 1844-1857.

#corresponding author


Background: The rise in asthma has been linked to different environmental and lifestyle factors including dietary habits. Whether dietary salt contributes to asthma incidence, remains controversial. We aimed to investigate the impact of higher salt intake on asthma incidence in humans and to evaluate underlying mechanisms using mouse models.

Methods: Epidemiological research was conducted using the UK Biobank Resource. Data were obtained from 42,976 participants with a history of allergies. 24-h sodium excretion was estimated from spot urine, and its association with asthma incidence was assessed by Cox regression, adjusting for relevant covariates. For mechanistic studies, a mouse model of mite-induced allergic airway inflammation (AAI) fed with high-salt diet (HSD) or normal-salt chow was used to characterize disease development. The microbiome of lung and feces (as proxy for gut) was analyzed via 16S rRNA gene based metabarcoding approach.

Results: In humans, urinary sodium excretion was directly associated with asthma incidence among females but not among males. HSD-fed female mice displayed an aggravated AAI characterized by increased levels of total IgE, a TH2-TH17-biased inflammatory cell infiltration accompanied by upregulation of osmosensitive stress genes. HSD induced distinct changes in serum short chain fatty acids and in both gut and lung microbiome, with a lower Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes ratio and decreased Lactobacillus relative abundance in the gut, and enriched members of Gammaproteobacteria in the lung.

Conclusions: High dietary salt consumption correlates with asthma incidence in female adults with a history of allergies. Female mice revealed HSD-induced T-cell lung profiles accompanied by alterations of gut and lung microbiome.

Keywords: allergic airway inflammation; asthma; dietary salt; microbiome.


Amy Burrell
Christina Zielinski


doi: 10.1111/all.16148

PMID: 38798015