IgA antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in human tears

B. Meek, V.N.A. Klaren, N.J. van Haeringen, A. Kijlstra, R. Peek

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    21 Citations (Scopus)


    PURPOSE. To investigate whether mucosal immune responses directed against the ubiquitous parasite Toxoplasma gondii can be detected in tears of healthy humans. METHODS. Nonstimulated tears and blood were obtained from 62 healthy humans (mean age, 35 ± 10 [SD] years). Serum anti-T. gondii immunoglobulin titers were determined by Sabin-Feldman (SF) dye test. Western blot analysis was used to compare the anti-T. gondii repertoire in tears and serum, and antibody avidity was determined by urea elution. Diluted tear and serum samples were incubated with the intact parasite to determine whether the antibodies found in tears and serum are capable of binding to surface exposed antigens of T. gondii. RESULTS. Eighty-one percent of the individuals tested had an anti-T. gondii IgA response in their tears, whereas only 23% had evidence of systemic immunity against the parasite. There was no apparent relation between chronic infection and presence of anti-T. gondii IgA in tears. Characteristically, the antigens recognized by the IgA antibodies in tears were often limited to at least one of four antigens with molecular weights of 74, 70, 49, and 34 kDa. The avidity of the anti-T. gondii IgA antibodies in tears was similar to the avidity of serum IgG antibodies. IgA antibodies directed against the 49- and 74-kDa antigens recognized epitopes exposed on the surface of the parasite. CONCLUSIONS. A major finding of this study is that tears of many individuals, chronically infected or not, contain IgA antibodies against T. gondii. It is not known whether these frequently observed antibody responses are the result of common mucosal immune responses against T. gondii or represent the natural antibody repertoire.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2584-2590
    JournalInvestigative ophthalmology and visual science
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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