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J Exp Med. 1969 Oct 1;130(4):723-44.

Antibodies of the IgA type in intestinal plasma cells of germfree mice after oral or parenteral immunization with ferritin.


In adult germfree C(3)H mice immunized with horse spleen ferritin, either subcutaneously or intraperitoneally, plasma cells containing specific antibodies were found in lymph nodes and spleen and, in smaller numbers, also in the lamina propria of the intestine. In extraintestinal sites, these antiferritin-containing plasma cells were mainly of the IgM class after a single stimulation, and of the IgG(1) class after repeated stimulation. In the intestine, all the anti-ferritin-containing cells appeared to be of the IgA class. Circulating antibodies, after repeated stimulation, were for the major part IgG(1) and IgG(2). In germfree mice given ferritin in their drinking water, antiferritin-containing cells were abundant in the intestinal mucosa, much less numerous in the mesenteric lymph nodes, and extremely scarce in other lymphoid tissues. All these cells, whatever their location, appeared to belong exclusively to the IgA class. Similarly, all the circulating antibody in these animals was found to be IgA. These findings illustrate the role of the gut as a site of antibody synthesis, as well as its selective commitment to the production of antibodies of the IgA class.

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