First published March 1, 1978 - More info
Ingestion of capsules which contained killed Streptococcus mutans by four healthy human subjects led to the appearance of specific antibodies in external secretions. Salivary and lacrymal antibodies were detected within 1 wk of ingestion and continued to increase throughout a 14-day immunization period, with a gradual decline during the 2 ensuing months. A second period of immunization resulted in a pronounced increase of specific antibody levels which occurred earlier than in the primary immunization period and reached peak levels by day 10. No change was detected in serum antibody levels throughout either immunization period. The antibody activity in all secretions was associated with the immunoglobulin A class, as determined by immunochemical analyses. These data indicate that ingestion of bacterial antigens selectively stimulates the immune response in secretions.