The SIgA system and hypersensitivity in patients with cystic fibrosis


Dr H. McFarlane, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Medical School, University of Manchester, Stopford Building, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PT.


A number of investigations have been used for the first time to examine the secretory IgA (SIgA) system in different body fluids from patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Free J-chain was detected in all the sputum specimens examined. The isolated free secretory component (SC) from CF sputum differed in electrophoretic mobility from the SC isolated from normal human colostrum. In addition the free SC from some CF saliva formed precipitin lines of partial identity with normal human saliva or colostrum. A higher proportion of CF sera (33%) than of normal sera (10%) contained free SC. These investigations suggest that there may be some defect in the synthesis and/or the assembly of the SIgA immunoglobulins, which if confirmed, may help to explain the impaired Type I and Type III allergic manifestations in patients with CF.