Immunoglobulin A-mediated hepatobiliary transport constitutes an natural pathway for disposing of bacterial antigens

Academic Article


  • The possibility that hepatobiliary transport of immunoglobulin A (IgA) immune complexes might eliminate bacterial antigens was investigated in mice with pneumococcal type III capsular polysaccharide and C carbohydrate and corresponding monoclonal antibodies. Although all isotypes of antibody caused uptake by the liver, only IgA, but not IgG or IgM, antibodies transported these substances into bile where they were detected in the form of immune complexes and as free antigens. Small doses (10 μg or less) of passively administered IgA antibody were sufficient to induce measurable transport of capsular polysaccharide into bile. Transport of C carbohydrate was significantly correlated with the level of naturally occurring IgA antibodies specific for the phsophocholine determinant, but not with IgM or IgG antibodies. These results suggest that the continual process of hepatic uptake of circulating polymeric IgA may function to eliminate bacterial macromolecular products that are not readily susceptible to other mechanisms of disposal.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Russell MW; Brown TA; Claflin JL; Schroer K; Mestecky J
  • Start Page

  • 1041
  • End Page

  • 1048
  • Volume

  • 42
  • Issue

  • 3