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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 Aug;114(2):377-82.

Antigen-specific secretory IgA antibodies in the gut are decreased in a mouse model of food allergy.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland.



A large body of evidence implicates IgA antibodies in the immune response to pathogens present in the gut. Whether IgA antibodies play a similar role in food allergy remains to be determined.


We sought to characterize beta-lactoglobulin (BLG)-specific serum and secretory IgA antibody production in the gut and to define the role of antigen-induced cytokines in IgA production in a murine model of food allergy.


BLG-specific IgA antibodies were measured in the sera and feces of mice anaphylactic or tolerant to BLG. The number of antibody-secreting cells in the spleen and Peyer's patches was determined by means of ELISPOT. Mesenteric lymph node cells and Peyer's patch T cells were transferred to naive mice, and antibody production in the sera and feces in recipient mice, as well as antibody-secreting cell numbers, were measured.


Serum IgA antibody titers were strongly increased in anaphylactic mice. In contrast, BLG-specific IgA antibody titers were increased in feces but not in sera from tolerant mice. These results were correlated with an increased number of BLG-specific IgA-secreting cells in Peyer's patches from tolerant mice. The adoptive transfer of Peyer's patch CD3+ cells from tolerant mice induced an increased number of IgA-secreting cells preferentially in the Peyer's patches of naive recipient mice. Furthermore, an increase of BLG-induced IL-10 and TGF-beta levels was found at IgA production sites.


These results suggest a role for secretory IgA in tolerance mechanisms to foods. Peyer's patch CD3+ cells are primarily involved by favoring IgA production through the release of IL-10 and TGF-beta.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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