Human seroreactivity to gut microbiota antigens

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Abstract

Background:

Although immune responses directed against antigens from the intestinal microbiota are observed in certain diseases, the normal human adaptive immune response to intestinal microbiota is poorly defined.

Objective:

Our goal was to assess the adaptive immune response to the intestinal microbiota present in 143 healthy adults and compare this response with the response observed in 52 children and their mothers at risk of having allergic disease.

Methods:

Human serum was collected from adults and children followed from birth to 7 years of age, and the serum IgG response to a panel of intestinal microbiota antigens was assessed by using a novel protein microarray.

Results:

Nearly every subject tested, regardless of health status, had serum IgG that recognized a common set of antigens. Seroreactivity to the panel of antigens was significantly lower in atopic adults. Healthy infants expressed the highest level of IgG seroreactivity to intestinal microbiota antigens. This adaptive response developed between 6 and 12 months of age and peaked around 2 years of age. Low IgG responses to certain clusters of microbiota antigens during infancy were associated with allergy development during childhood.

Conclusions:

There is an observed perturbation of the adaptive response to antigens from the microbiota in allergic subjects. These perturbations are observable even in childhood, suggesting that optimal stimulation of the adaptive immune system by the microbiota might be needed to prevent certain immune-mediated diseases.

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