Role of secretory immunoglobulin A and secretory component in the protection of mucosal surfaces

Future Microbiol. 2010 May;5(5):817-29. doi: 10.2217/fmb.10.39.


The contribution of secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) antibodies in the defense of mucosal epithelia plays an important role in preventing pathogen adhesion to host cells, therefore blocking dissemination and further infection. This mechanism, referred to as immune exclusion, represents the dominant mode of action of the antibody. However, SIgA antibodies combine multiple facets, which together confer properties extending from intracellular and serosal neutralization of antigens, activation of non-inflammatory pathways and homeostatic control of the endogenous microbiota. The sum of these features suggests that future opportunities for translational application from research-based knowledge to clinics include the mucosal delivery of bioactive antibodies capable of preserving immunoreactivity in the lung, gastrointestinal tract, the genito-urinary tract for the treatment of infections. This article covers topics dealing with the structure of SIgA, the dissection of its mode of action in epithelia lining different mucosal surfaces and its potential in immunotherapy against infectious pathogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal*
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / therapeutic use
  • Secretory Component / chemistry
  • Secretory Component / immunology*
  • Secretory Component / therapeutic use


  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory
  • Secretory Component