In 17 adults, serum, hepatic bile, and saliva samples were analyzed for their sedimentation profile of IgA and secretory component (SC), and for their concentrations of albumin, orosomucoid, transferrin, IgG, IgA, alpha 2-macroglobulin (alpha 2M), IgM, and SC. Polymeric IgA(p-IgA) averaged 13% (50-700 micrograms/ml) of total IgA in serum, 70% (43-88%) in bile, and 93% (74-98%) in saliva. Most of the p-IgA in bile sedimented with SC, which also occurred free (8-44%), and with IgM. In bile, albumin (155-1,485 micrograms/ml) was the predominant protein, followed by IgG (32-480 micrograms/ml), and total IgA (37-209 micrograms/ml). In saliva, p-IgA (72-902 micrograms/ml) predominated, followed by albumin (16-385 micrograms/ml) and IgG (9-178 micrograms/ml). Secretion-to-serum albumin-relative concentration ratios (S/S-ARCR = 1 for albumin) in bile averaged 22 for p-IgA, 1.91 for IgM, 1.28 for monomeric IgA (m-IgA), 0.70 for IgG, and 0.57 for alpha 2M, indicating for p-IgA, IgM, and to a lesser extent for m-IgA, a selective excretion into bile. In saliva, a 16-fold greater selective excretion of p-IgA (mean S/S-ARCR = 354) was found. Labeled m- and p-IgA were injected intravenously into five patients. Specific activities indicated that for p-IgA 50% was serum derived in bile, as compared with 2% in saliva, and to 85% for m-IgA in bile. In the patient with the highest excretion of 125I-p-IgA in bile, only 2.8% of the injected dose was recovered in bile within 24 h after injection. Compared with rats and rabbits, the serum-to-bile transport of p-IgA in humans is much smaller.
D L Delacroix, H J Hodgson, A McPherson, C Dive, J P Vaerman