Protective secretory immunoglobulin A antibodies in humans following oral immunization with Streptococcus mutans

R. L. Gregory, S. J. Filler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations


Ingestion of a vaccine contained killed Streptococcus mutans, originally isolated from each volunteer, daily for 10 consecutive days induced increased levels of specific secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) antibodies to S. mutans cells and two cell surface proteins, glycosyltransferase and surface antigen I/II, in parotid saliva and tears of four healthy males and in parotid saliva, tears, colostrum, and milk of a pregnant woman. In addition, these antibodies inhibited glucosyltransferase activity. Both IgA1 and IgA2 antibodies were induced. The levels of IgA antibodies in all secretions remained significantly above preimmunization levels for more than 50 days after oral administration of antigen. A second series of immunizations for 7 consecutive days resulted in even higher levels of sIgA antibodies, which peaked earlier and persisted longer than those observed after the primary immunizations. No increase in levels of antibodies in serum were detected in any subject. Antibodies reactive with human heart and kidney antigens could not be detected in saliva, tears, colostrum, milk, or serum samples collected at any time during the immunization regimen. The numbers of viable S. mutans organisms in dental plaque and whole saliva decreased after each series of immunizations, which correlated with increased levels of IgA antibodies in saliva, suggesting that IgA antibodies in saliva were responsible for the reduced adherence of this bacterium. These results indicate that ingested S. mutans antigen induces secretion of specific IgA1 and IgA2 antibodies in saliva, tears, colostrum, and milk, providing further evidence for the existence of a common mucosal immune system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2409-2415
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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