Mechanisms of neonatal mucosal antibody protection

Nicola L. Harris, Iris Spoerri, Jacqueline F. Schopfer, Chiara Nembrini, Patrick Merky, Joanna Massacand, Joseph F. Urban, Alain Lamarre, Kurt Burki, Bernhard Odermatt, Rolf M. Zinkernagel, Andrew J. Macpherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

175 Citations (Scopus)


Following an abrupt transition at birth from the sterile uterus to an environment with abundant commensal and pathogenic microbes, neonatal mammals are protected by maternal Abs at mucosal surfaces. We show in mice that different Ab isotypes work in distinct ways to protect the neonatal mucosal surface. Secretory IgA acts to limit penetration of commensal intestinal bacteria through the neonatal intestinal epithelium: an apparently primitive process that does not require diversification of the primary natural Ab repertoire. In contrast, neonatal protection against the exclusively luminal parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus required IgG from primed females. This immune IgG could either be delivered directly in milk or retrotransported via neonatal Fc receptor from the neonatal serum into the intestinal lumen to exert its protective effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6256-6262
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

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