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Infect Immun. 2000 Oct;68(10):5539-45.

Generation of female genital tract antibody responses by local or central (common) mucosal immunization.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-2170, USA.


Genital antibody responses were compared in female mice immunized intravaginally (i.vag.) or intranasally (i.n.) with a bacterial protein antigen (AgI/II of Streptococcus mutans) coupled to the B subunit of cholera toxin. Serum and salivary antibodies were also evaluated as measures of disseminated mucosal and systemic responses. Although i.vag. immunization induced local vaginal immunoglobulin A (IgA) and IgG antibody responses, these were not disseminated to a remote secretion, the saliva, and only modest levels of serum antibodies were generated. In contrast, i.n. immunization was substantially more effective at inducing IgA and IgG antibody responses in the genital tract and in the circulation, as well as at inducing IgA antibodies in the saliva. Moreover, mucosal and systemic antibodies induced by i.n. immunization persisted for at least 12 months. Analysis of the molecular form of genital IgA indicated that the majority of both total IgA and specific IgA antibody was polymeric, and likely derived from the common mucosal immune system.

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