• capsular polysaccharide;
  • IgA subclass;
  • pneumococcal;
  • PsaA;
  • saliva


A number of studies have shown that the ratio of IgA1 and IgA2 subclasses in secretions can depend upon the nature of the antigen inducing their production. In order to evaluate the effect of the nature of the antigen on the subclass distribution of the naturally occurring salivary IgA antibodies against Streptococcus pneumoniae, we used enzyme immunoassay to measure the levels of natural IgA, IgA1 and IgA2 antibodies to pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide type 14 (PS14) and pneumococcal surface adhesin A (PsaA) in saliva of children during their first 2 years of life. The sum of anti-PS14 and anti-PsaA IgA1 and IgA2 correlated significantly with the antigen-specific total IgA, which showed that IgA1 and IgA2 add up to IgA. IgA1 was the predominant subclass for both antigens. The median of anti-PS14 and anti-PsaA IgA1 was higher than that of IgA2, and the antigen-specific IgA1 was found in a larger proportion of samples than IgA2. The ratio of IgA1 to IgA2 (IgA1/IgA2 ratio) was lower for anti-PS14 than for anti-PsaA, suggesting that the PS antigen induced more IgA2 than the protein antigen. The possible impact of the IgA subclass distribution on protection of mucosal surfaces by natural or vaccine-induced antibodies needs to be determined.