Role of mucosal IgA in the resistance to Acanthamoeba keratitis

Henry F. Leher, Hassan Alizadeh, Wesley M. Taylor, Andrew S. Shea, Robert S. Silvany, Franciscus Van Klink, Martine J. Jager, Jerry Y. Niederkorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To determine whether oral immunization with Acanthamoeba castellanii antigens elicits mucosal antibodies of the IgA isotype and whether mucosal antibodies affect parasite adhesion to the corneal epithelium. METHODS. Chinese hamsters were immunized with 100 μg aqueous Acanthamoeba antigen mixed with cholera toxin (Ac-CT) and subsequently challenged with parasite-laden contact lenses that were applied to abraded corneal surfaces. Tears and stool samples were examined for the presence of Acanthamoeba-specific IgA antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The effect of mucosal antibody on trophozoite binding to corneal epithelium and viability of trophozoites was examined in vitro. RESULTS. Hamsters immunized orally with Ac-CT showed significantly lower infection rates than did control groups (21.4% versus 72.6%). ELISA analysis of mucosal specimens showed the presence of parasite-specific IgA in stool samples and tears from hamsters orally immunized with Ac-CT, but not in control animals. In vitro assays showed that anti-Acanthamoeba IgA did not affect parasite viability. However, mucosal anti-Acanthamoeba IgA profoundly inhibited (>75%) the binding of parasites to corneal epithelial cells in vitro. CONCLUSIONS. Oral immunization with Ac-CT induces the production of parasite-specific IgA in mucosal secretions and prevents corneal infection. Mucosal antibody does not affect the viability of Acanthamoeba trophozoites but seems to prevent infection by inhibiting parasite binding to the corneal epithelium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2666-2673
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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