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Microbiol Immunol. 1982;26(3):227-39.

Antimicrobial effect of human serum IgA.


Serum IgA, IgG and colostrum secretory IgA prepared from specimens pooled from a large number of human beings were shown to have measurable levels of antibodies against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella Pneumoniae, poliovirus, Coxsackie B virus, echovirus and influenza virus. Serum IgA exerted a bacteriostatic effect in vitro on E. coli and P. aeruginosa, which increased in the presence of the iron-binding proteins lactoferrin and transferrin. This bacteriostasis was reduced when the iron-binding proteins were saturated with iron. Similar results were obtained with IgG and secretory IgA. The bacteriostatic effect of serum IgA was also shown in vivo, in the peritoneal cavity of mice. The effect was suppressed by iron. Iron-chelating substances, siderophores, excreted by E. coli diminished the co-operative bacteriostatic effect of serum IgA and transferrin. Siderophore production by E. coli was inhibited in the presence of serum IgA, but not when serum IgA was deprived of specific antibody by absorption with E. coli. These results indicate that serum IgA has a potent bacteriostatic effect in co-operation with transferrin or lactoferrin because of the inhibitory effect of the specific antibody on siderophore production by E. coli.

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