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J Clin Invest. 1982 Aug;70(2):230-41.

Selective transport of polymeric immunoglobulin A in bile. Quantitative relationships of monomeric and polymeric immunoglobulin A, immunoglobulin M, and other proteins in serum, bile, and saliva.


In 17 adults, serum, hepatic bile, and saliva samples were analyzed for their sedimentation profile of IgA and secretory component (SC), and for their concentrations of albumin, orosomucoid, transferrin, IgG, IgA, alpha 2-macroglobulin (alpha 2M), IgM, and SC. Polymeric IgA(p-IgA) averaged 13% (50-700 micrograms/ml) of total IgA in serum, 70% (43-88%) in bile, and 93% (74-98%) in saliva. Most of the p-IgA in bile sedimented with SC, which also occurred free (8-44%), and with IgM. In bile, albumin (155-1,485 micrograms/ml) was the predominant protein, followed by IgG (32-480 micrograms/ml), and total IgA (37-209 micrograms/ml). In saliva, p-IgA (72-902 micrograms/ml) predominated, followed by albumin (16-385 micrograms/ml) and IgG (9-178 micrograms/ml). Secretion-to-serum albumin-relative concentration ratios (S/S-ARCR = 1 for albumin) in bile averaged 22 for p-IgA, 1.91 for IgM, 1.28 for monomeric IgA (m-IgA), 0.70 for IgG, and 0.57 for alpha 2M, indicating for p-IgA, IgM, and to a lesser extent for m-IgA, a selective excretion into bile. In saliva, a 16-fold greater selective excretion of p-IgA (mean S/S-ARCR = 354) was found. Labeled m- and p-IgA were injected intravenously into five patients. Specific activities indicated that for p-IgA 50% was serum derived in bile, as compared with 2% in saliva, and to 85% for m-IgA in bile. In the patient with the highest excretion of 125I-p-IgA in bile, only 2.8% of the injected dose was recovered in bile within 24 h after injection. Compared with rats and rabbits, the serum-to-bile transport of p-IgA in humans is much smaller.

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