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Abirami Kugadas, Quentin Wright, Jennifer Geddes-McAlister, Mihaela Gadjeva; Role of Microbiota in Strengthening Ocular Mucosal Barrier Function Through Secretory IgA. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(11):4593-4600. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-22119.
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate mechanisms controlling secretory IgA (SIgA) production, thereby ensuring maintenance of ocular surface health.
To determine whether the presence of specific gut commensal species regulates SIgA levels and IgA transcripts in the eye-associated lymphoid tissues (EALT), specific-pathogen-free (SPF) Swiss Webster (SW) mice were treated with antibiotic cocktails, germ-free (GF) SW mice were reconstituted with diverse commensal gut microbiota, or monocolonized with gut-specific commensals. Proteomic profiling and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) were used to quantify SIgA and IgA levels. 16S rDNA sequencing was carried out to characterize commensal microbiota.
Commensal presence regulated ocular surface SIgA levels and mRNA IgA transcripts in EALT. Oral antibiotic cocktail intake significantly reduced gut commensal presence, while maintaining ocular surface commensal levels reduced SIgA and IgA transcripts in EALT. Analysis of gut microbial communities revealed that SPF SW mice carried abundant Bacteroides organisms when compared to SPF C57BL6/N mice, with B. acidifaciens being the most prominent species in SPF SW mice. Monocolonization of GF SW mice with B. acidifaciens, a strict gut anaerobe, resulted in significant increase of IgA transcripts in the EALT, implying generation of B-cell memory.
These data illustrated a “gut-eye” axis of immune regulation. Exposure of the host to gut commensal species may serve as a priming signal to generate B-cell repertoires at sites different from the gut, such as EALT, thereby ensuring broad protection.
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