Anti-Pseudomonas aeruginosa IgY Antibodies Induce Specific Bacterial Aggregation and Internalization in Human Polymorphonuclear Neutrophils

Infect Immun. 2015 Jul;83(7):2686-93. doi: 10.1128/IAI.02970-14. Epub 2015 Apr 20.


Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) are essential cellular constituents in the innate host response, and their recruitment to the lungs and subsequent ubiquitous phagocytosis controls primary respiratory infection. Cystic fibrosis pulmonary disease is characterized by progressive pulmonary decline governed by a persistent, exaggerated inflammatory response dominated by PMNs. The principal contributor is chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm infection, which attracts and activates PMNs and thereby is responsible for the continuing inflammation. Strategies to prevent initial airway colonization with P. aeruginosa by augmenting the phagocytic competence of PMNs may postpone the deteriorating chronic biofilm infection. Anti-P. aeruginosa IgY antibodies significantly increase the PMN-mediated respiratory burst and subsequent bacterial killing of P. aeruginosa in vitro. The mode of action is attributed to IgY-facilitated formation of immobilized bacteria in aggregates, as visualized by fluorescence microscopy and the induction of increased bacterial hydrophobicity. Thus, the present study demonstrates that avian egg yolk immunoglobulins (IgY) targeting P. aeruginosa modify bacterial fitness, which enhances bacterial killing by PMN-mediated phagocytosis and thereby may facilitate a rapid bacterial clearance in airways of people with cystic fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Chickens
  • Endocytosis*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / immunology*
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / microbiology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / immunology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • IgY
  • Immunoglobulins