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Secretory IgA's complex roles in immunity and mucosal homeostasis in the gut.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York, USA.
Mucosal Immunology (Impact Factor: 7.54). 11/2011; 4(6):603-11. DOI: 10.1038/mi.2011.41
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Secretory IgA (SIgA) serves as the first line of defense in protecting the intestinal epithelium from enteric toxins and pathogenic microorganisms. Through a process known as immune exclusion, SIgA promotes the clearance of antigens and pathogenic microorganisms from the intestinal lumen by blocking their access to epithelial receptors, entrapping them in mucus, and facilitating their removal by peristaltic and mucociliary activities. In addition, SIgA functions in mucosal immunity and intestinal homeostasis through mechanisms that have only recently been revealed. In just the past several years, SIgA has been identified as having the capacity to directly quench bacterial virulence factors, influence composition of the intestinal microbiota by Fab-dependent and Fab-independent mechanisms, promote retro-transport of antigens across the intestinal epithelium to dendritic cell subsets in gut-associated lymphoid tissue, and, finally, to downregulate proinflammatory responses normally associated with the uptake of highly pathogenic bacteria and potentially allergenic antigens. This review summarizes the intrinsic biological activities now associated with SIgA and their relationships with immunity and intestinal homeostasis.

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