Research ArticleMicrobiome

Microbial ecology perturbation in human IgA deficiency

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Science Translational Medicine  02 May 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 439, eaan1217
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan1217

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IgA leads the way in the gut

IgA is the most abundant mucosal antibody, and experiments with animal models suggest that it may enforce the gut barrier to prevent dangerous bacteria from damaging the host. However, humans deficient specifically in IgA often have only mild symptoms. Fadlallah et al. examined the fecal microbiomes of healthy individuals in comparison to those deficient in IgA. Overall bacterial diversity was comparable, but different genera were predominant in the patients. They investigated which bacteria were bound by different isotypes and concluded that IgM could partially compensate for the lack of IgA in patients, but not entirely. Their results suggest that, in humans, IgA is not solely responsible for controlling infections but does shape the microbiome.