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Intravenous administration of polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies has proven to be a clinically valid approach in the treatment, or at least relief, of many acute and chronic pathologies, such as infection, immunodeficiency, and a broad range of autoimmune conditions. Plasma-derived IgG or recombinant IgG are most frequently used for intravenous or subcutaneous administration, whereas a few IgM-based products are available as well. We have established recently that secretory-like IgA and IgM can be produced upon association of plasma-derived polymeric IgA and IgM with a recombinant secretory component. As a next step toward potential future mucosal administration, we sought to unravel the mechanisms by which these secretory Igs protect epithelial cells located at the interface between the environment and the inside of the body. By using polarized epithelial Caco-2 cell monolayers and Shigella flexneri as a model enteropathogen, we found that polyspecific plasma-derived SIgA and SIgM fulfill many protective functions, including dose-dependent recognition of the antigen via formation of aggregated immune complexes, reduction of bacterial infectivity, maintenance of epithelial cell integrity, and inhibition of proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine production by epithelial cells. In this in vitro model devoid of other cellular or molecular interfering partners, IgM and secretory IgM showed stronger bacterial neutralization than secretory IgA. Together, these data suggest that mucosally delivered antibody preparations may be most effective when combining both secretory-like IgA and IgM, which, together, play a crucial role in preserving several levels of epithelial cell integrity.

Original publication




Journal article


The Journal of biological chemistry

Publication Date





21617 - 21626


From the R&D Laboratory of the Division of Immunology and Allergy, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Rue du Bugnon, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland and.


Caco-2 Cells, Epithelial Cells, Humans, Shigella flexneri, Immunoglobulin A, Immunoglobulin M, Chemokines, Cytokines, Microscopy, Confocal, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Colony Count, Microbial, Virulence, Homeostasis