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 ResearchResearch AreasImmunology and Innate DefensesRussell     September 19, 2014  

Immunology and Innate Defenses

MICHAEL W. RUSSELL, PhD personal profile

Secretory and circulating IgA antibodies, mucosal immune response against bacterial infections, and new approaches to mucosal vaccine development

We have developed a genetic strategy for coupling protein antigen segments to the exceptionally immunogenic but non-toxic B subunit of cholera toxin (CTB) to make chimeric mucosal immunogens.  Of particular interest is the location and type of antigen-presenting cells targeted by mucosal administration of these immunogens, and the mechanisms by which they elicit mucosal immune responses.  Potential applications include vaccines against dental caries and periodontal disease, and also genital tract infections.

We have shown that IgA antibodies are essentially anti-inflammatory by interfering with complement activation.  Consequently we have hypothesized that circulating IgA ameliorates collateral damage to tissues arising from the activities of antibody-mediated defense mechanisms.  Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition in which such effects might be relevant, and investigation of this should reveal novel aspects of IgA function as well as suggest some new approaches to the treatment of this disease.