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Crit Rev Immunol. 1995;15(3-4):317-48.

The mucosal adjuvant activities of ADP-ribosylating bacterial enterotoxins.

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Department of Pathology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


The bacterial enterotoxins, cholera toxin and the heat labile toxin of E. coli, are well known adjuvants for mucosal immune response. Their common A chain mediates the toxigenic mechanism by causing ADP ribosylation of G proteins and subsequent elevation of cAMP in target cells. A large IgA and IgG antibody response to admixed protein antigen (Ag) is the hallmark of these adjuvants and is clearly associated with the A chain activity. Expansion of Ag-specific B and T cells, alteration of T cell cytokine production, and changes in regulatory T cells have been reported as adjuvant mechanisms. The B chain derivatives of these toxins can also weakly enhance immune response, especially if covalently associated with Ag and used for nasophyrangeal immunization. Importantly, these toxins or their B chain derivatives can alter the normal immune regulation that produces oral tolerance. This indicates that they modulate mechanisms operative between the mucosal and systemic immune systems. There are some discrepancies between in vitro models of CT or LT activity and in vivo manifestations of their adjuvant activities. Interpretation of current data regarding in vivo mechanism is hampered by an incomplete understanding of how mucosal B and T cells can interact with systemic lymphoid tissue and vice versa. More important, there is no clear understanding of the early effects of the toxins on the local (and draining) mucosal lymphoid tissues. This is especially true in the critical areas of antigen presentation, T and B cell activation, and cytokine production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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