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The transfer of IgA from mucus to plasma and the implications for diagnosis and control of nematode infections



Immunoglobulin A (IgA) activity has been associated with reduced growth and fecundity of Teladorsagia circumcincta. IgA is active at the site of infection in the abomasal mucus. However, while IgA activity in abomasal mucus is not easily measured in live animals without invasive methods, IgA activity can be readily detected in the plasma, making it a potentially valuable tool in diagnosis and control. We used a Bayesian statistical analysis to quantify the relationship between mucosal and plasma IgA in sheep deliberately infected with T. circumcincta. The transfer of IgA depends on mucosal IgA activity as well as its interaction with worm number and size; together these account for over 80% of the variation in plasma IgA activity. By quantifying the impact of mucosal IgA and worm number and size on plasma IgA, we provide a tool that can allow more meaningful interpretation of plasma IgA measurements and aid the development of efficient control programmes.


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* Corresponding author: Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, Garscube Campus, Bearsden Road, Glasgow G61 1QH, UK. E-mail:


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The transfer of IgA from mucus to plasma and the implications for diagnosis and control of nematode infections



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