JAN 06, 2016 3:15 PM PST

Beneficial Microbes Linked to Antibody Production

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Over time humans evolved alongside a beneficial microbial community, called the microbiome. In return for a place to live, these microbiota help regulate digestion in the gut, compete with harmful pathogens for nutrients, and boost the immune system. In a recent study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, scientists identified yet another role the microbiome plays in keeping their human hosts healthy.

Immunoglobulin A (IgA), a type of antibody, is produced by B lymphocytes of the immune system and congregates primarily in the inner lining of the mucosa in the intestines and lungs. In a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine scientists identified a link between IgA and the microbiome.

Using mouse models to isolate dendritic cells, the research team cultured the cells with immunoglobulin-producing B lymphocytes for 4-5 days. Dendritic cell work with lymphocytes upon infection, displaying antigens for them to recognize (The Rockefeller University).

The team saw the B lymphocytes produced IgA after growth, representing a process called IgA class switch recombination where B lymphocytes “acquire the expression of IgA” (Nature Reviews Immunology). However, upon observation mice without a healthy microbiome due to antibiotic treatment had a severely reduced population of IgA. These same mice experienced a surge of IgA production when fed lipopolysaccharide, a component of the bacterial cell wall that the immune system recognizes as pathogenic.

Without a population of beneficial bacteria to stimulate antibody creation, these “germ free” mice had no IgA to protect them.

These observations are further evidence of overuse and misuse of antibiotics in medicine and food production negatively impacting the natural balance of the cells in our body, both foreign (microbiome) and our own. Low levels of IgA could also be a factor in increasing prevalence of asthma and other allergies in regions where antibiotic use is rampant.

There is no telling what other roles the microbiome plays in regulating human health. More consequences of dysbiosis, a microbial imbalance, are sure to appear though, if antibiotic use continues without regulation.
 
 
Source: Icahn School of Medicine 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
AUG 24, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FDA Grants Emergency Approval for Blood Plasma to Treat COVID-19
AUG 24, 2020
FDA Grants Emergency Approval for Blood Plasma to Treat COVID-19
The US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) has given emergency approval for expanded use of antibody-rich blood plasma to help th ...
SEP 06, 2020
Microbiology
Small Changes in Vaccine Molecules Could Make Them More Effective
SEP 06, 2020
Small Changes in Vaccine Molecules Could Make Them More Effective
Effective vaccines have to trigger an immune response, which is intended to create an immune 'memory' of a specific infe ...
SEP 14, 2020
Microbiology
The Immune System Can Kill HIV with a Helper Molecule
SEP 14, 2020
The Immune System Can Kill HIV with a Helper Molecule
HIV attacks the human immune system's CD4 cells, a major player in the body's defense against pathogens.
OCT 02, 2020
Immunology
Stop the Clot: A New Antibody Treatment for Thrombosis
OCT 02, 2020
Stop the Clot: A New Antibody Treatment for Thrombosis
Blood clotting helps stem the bleeding from a wound, suppressing blood loss and stopping pathogenic microorganisms from ...
NOV 06, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
New Vaccine Shows Promise for Herpes
NOV 06, 2020
New Vaccine Shows Promise for Herpes
The World Health Organization estimates that over 500 million people have Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2), a sexuall ...
NOV 17, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Antibiotics Before Age 2 Linked to Childhood Health Conditions
NOV 17, 2020
Antibiotics Before Age 2 Linked to Childhood Health Conditions
Researchers from Mayo Clinic have found a link between children aged two and under taking antibiotics and an increased r ...
Loading Comments...