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J Exp Med. 2006 Jan 23;203(1):21-6. Epub 2006 Jan 3.

Innate secretory antibodies protect against natural Salmonella typhimurium infection.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia.


The production of IgA is induced in an antigen-unspecific manner by commensal flora. These secretory antibodies (SAbs) may bind multiple antigens and are thought to eliminate commensal bacteria and self-antigens to avoid systemic recognition. In this study, we addressed the role of "innate" SAbs, i.e., those that are continuously produced in normal individuals, in protection against infection of the gastrointestinal tract. We used polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR-/-) knock-out mice, which are unable to bind and actively transport dimeric IgA and pentameric IgM to the mucosae, and examined the role of innate SAbs in protection against the invasive pathogen Salmonella typhimurium. In vitro experiments suggested that innate IgA in pIgR-/- serum bound S. typhimurium in a cross-reactive manner which inhibited epithelial cell invasion. Using a "natural" infection model, we demonstrated that pIgR-/- mice are profoundly sensitive to infection with S. typhimurium via the fecal-oral route and, moreover, shed more bacteria that readily infected other animals. These results imply an important evolutionary role for innate SAbs in protecting both the individual and the herd against infections, and suggest that the major role of SAbs may be to prevent the spread of microbial pathogens throughout the population, rather than protection of local mucosal surfaces.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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