The mucosal system, which forms a barrier between internal organ systems and the external environment, is frequently exposed to pathogenic microorganisms. Immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibody secreting cells (ASCs) localize in the lamina propria, and produce IgA antibodies which help protect mucosal tissues. The concept of a common mucosal immune system in which IgA ASCs have the ability to populate any mucosal site has been proposed (1, 2). However, recent research has suggested that IgA ASCs primed in different mucosal sites might possess different sets of chemokine receptors, and therefore migrate specifically to particular mucosal locations (3). In this study, the specific compartmentalization of IgA ASCs in two mouse salivary glands: sublingual gland (SLG), and submandibular gland (SMG) was studied. It was observed that SLG had 12 times more IgA ASCs per gram of gland than that of SMG (p<0.01). This suggested that IgA ASCs migrated to the two salivary glands with different efficiencies. Since the migration of lymphocytes is mediated by interactions between tissue specific chemokines and chemokine receptors, I hypothesized that the specific compartmentalization of IgA ASCs in the SLG and SMG was mediated by the differential expression of IgA ASC attracting chemokines. Quantitative PCR was used and showed that SLG expressed high levels of CCL28 and its receptor CCR10, which correlated to the distribution of IgA ASCs in the two salivary glands. In agreement with QPCR data, reduced levels of IgA ASCs were found in the SLG of CCR10 deficient mice when compared to wild type (WT) mice. Adoptive transfer of CCR10 deficient mice with WT spleen cells reconstituted the WT phenotype. It was therefore concluded that the interaction between CCL28 and CCR10 play an important role in mediating the migration of IgA ASCs into SLG. These results suggested that the accumulation of IgA ASC to distinct salivary glands is a highly selective process. These data also suggested that homing within mucosal sites is not common but rather a highly regulated process with specific subsets of cells homing to different tissues within the mucosal immune system.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Microbiology and Molecular Biology



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mucosal system, IgA ASCs, mouse salivary glands, chemokines, CCL28, CCR10, receptors, IgA, compartmentalization, common mucosal immune system



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Microbiology Commons