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Clin Exp Immunol. 1994 Feb;95(2):222-6.

Intestinal and circulating antibody-forming cells in IgA-deficient individuals after oral cholera vaccination.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Göteborg, Sweden.


In search for a possible explanation for the different susceptibility to mucosal infections in IgA-deficient (IgAd) individuals, the frequency of total immunoglobulin-secreting cells (ISC) and vaccine-specific antibody-secreting cells (ASC) in intestinal mucosa and peripheral blood was determined by the enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay before and after peroral vaccination with a B subunit-whole cell cholera vaccine. Two groups of IgAd individuals, frequently infected and non-infected respectively, and normal controls were studied. Before cholera vaccination there were significantly higher frequencies of total IgM and IgG ISC in the gut, but not in the blood, in the IgAd individuals than in the controls. However, there were no significant differences between healthy and infection-prone IgAd individuals in this respect. In response to oral cholera vaccination, intestinal cholera toxin (CT)-specific IgG and IgM ASC were significantly more abundant among the IgAd individuals with a history of frequent infections than among the healthy IgAd individuals and controls. A similar difference in IgG and IgM ASC, although not significant, was also noted in blood. In IgAd individuals with frequent infections the vaccine induced variable anti-CT IgM ASC responses in the gut, ranging from no increase to a few strikingly high responses. In the controls, the CT-specific responses were dominated by IgA ASC. The data show that oral cholera vaccination evoked strong CT-specific IgG ASC responses, and in some cases also strong IgM ASC responses in the intestinal mucosa of IgAd patients with a history of frequent infections. The healthy IgAd individuals unexpectedly responded with lower numbers of CT-specific IgG ASC and did not show any increase of CT-specific IgM ASC in the intestinal mucosa. Thus, inability to mount a mucosal immune response to an oral antigen cannot in itself explain recurrent infections among many IgAd individuals.

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