The importance of IgA for protection at mucosal surfaces remains unclear, and in fact, it has been reported that IgA-deficient mice have fully functional vaccine-induced immunity against several bacterial and viral pathogens. The role of respiratory Ab in preventing colonization by Streptococcus pneumoniae has now been examined using polymeric IgR knockout (pIgR-/-) mice, which lack the ability to actively secrete IgA into the mucosal lumen. Intranasal vaccination with a protein conjugate vaccine elicited serotype-specilc anti-capsular polysaccnaride Ab locally and systemically, and pIgR-/- mice produced levels of total serum Ab after vaccination that were similar to wild-type mice. However, pIgR-/- mice had ∼5-fold more systemic IgA and 6-fold less nasal IgA Ab than wild-type mice due to defective transport into mucosal tissues. Wild-type, but not pIgR mice were protected against infection with serotype 14 S. pneumoniae, which causes inacosal colonization but does not induce systemic inflammatory responses in mice. The relative importance of secretory IgA in host defense was further shown by the finding that intranasally vaccinated IgA gene-deficient mice were not protected from colonization. Although secretory IgA was found to be important for protection against nasal carriage, it does not appear to have a crucial role in immunity to systemic pneumococcus infection, because both vaccinated wild-type and pIgR-/- mice were fully protected from lethal systemic infection by serotype 3 pneumococci. The results demonstrate the critical role of secretory IgA in protection against pneumococcal nasal colonization and suggest that directed targeting to mucosal tissues will be needed for effective vaccination in humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy