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Immunotherapy with monoclonal and polyclonal immunoglobulin is successfully applied to improve many clinical conditions, including infection, autoimmune diseases, or immunodeficiency. Most immunoglobulin products, recombinant or plasma-derived, are based on IgG antibodies, whereas to date, the use of IgA for therapeutic application has remained anecdotal. In particular, purification or production of large quantities of secretory IgA (SIgA) for potential mucosal application has not been achieved. In this work, we sought to investigate whether polymeric IgA (pIgA) recovered from human plasma is able to associate with secretory component (SC) to generate SIgA-like molecules. We found that ∼15% of plasma pIgA carried J chain and displayed selective SC binding capacity either in a mixture with monomeric IgA (mIgA) or after purification. The recombinant SC associated covalently in a 1:1 stoichiometry with pIgA and with similar efficacy as colostrum-derived SC. In comparison with pIgA, the association with SC delayed degradation of SIgA by intestinal proteases. Similar results were obtained with plasma-derived IgM. In vitro, plasma-derived IgA and SIgA neutralized Shigella flexneri used as a model pathogen, resulting in a delay of bacteria-induced damage targeted to polarized Caco-2 cell monolayers. The sum of these novel data demonstrates that association of plasma-derived IgA or IgM with recombinant/colostrum-derived SC is feasible and yields SIgA- and SIgM-like molecules with similar biochemical and functional characteristics as mucosa-derived immunoglobulins.

Original publication




Journal article


The Journal of biological chemistry

Publication Date





4085 - 4094


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


COS Cells, Plasma, Animals, Humans, Shigella flexneri, Immunoglobulin M, Secretory Component, Recombinant Proteins, Antibodies, Bacterial, Immunoglobulin J-Chains, Antibodies, Neutralizing, Chlorocebus aethiops