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J Immunol. 1991 Mar 15;146(6):1972-8.

Passive transfer of local immunity to influenza virus infection by IgA antibody.

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  • 1Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, FL 32610.


Secretory IgA is presumed to be the mediator of mucosal immunity based on many studies that show a correlation between protection and secretory IgA titers; however, a causal relationship has not yet been established. Classically, passive transfer of antibody has been used to demonstrate causality, but the passive transfer of local immunity with physiologically transported IgA has not been previously reported. In this study mice were injected intravenously with polymeric IgA (pIgA), monomeric IgA (mIgA), or IgG1 mAb specific for the H1 hemaglutinin of PR8 influenza virus. pIgA was shown to be specifically transported into nasal secretions relative to the mIg. The transported pIgA was functional, as evidenced by its ability to bind to virus in an ELISA assay and to protect nonimmune mice against intranasal infection with H1N1 but not H3N2 influenza virus. Intravenous injection of similar virus-neutralizing doses of anti-influenza IgG1 mAb did not protect against nasal viral challenge. IgA-mediated protection could be abrogated by the intranasal administration of antiserum against the alpha chain of IgA. These data demonstrate the passive transfer of local immunity by the i.v. administration of pIgA antibody and show that the IgA in secretions can protect against influenza virus infection. This general approach could provide a model for the evaluation of the role of local IgA in host defense against other pathogens.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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