Intermittent fasting modulates IgA levels in the small intestine under intense stress: a mouse model

J Neuroimmunol. 2015 Aug 15;285:22-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2015.05.013. Epub 2015 May 15.


Intermittent fasting prolongs the lifespan and unlike intense stress provides health benefits. Given the role of the immunoglobulin A (IgA) in the intestinal homeostasis, the aim of this study was to assess the impact of intermittent fasting plus intense stress on secretory IgA (SIgA) production and other mucosal parameters in the duodenum and ileum. Two groups of six mice, with intermittent fasting or fed ad libitum for 12weeks, were submitted to a session of intense stress by a bout of forced swimming. Unstressed ad libitum fed or intermittently fasted groups were included as controls. After sacrifice, we evaluated intestinal SIgA and plasma adrenal hormones, lamina propria IgA+ plasma-cells, mRNA expression of polymeric immunoglobulin receptor, α- and J-chains in the liver and intestinal mucosa, as well as pro- (tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6 and Interferon-γ) and anti- (interleukin-2, -4, -10 and transforming growth factor-β) inflammatory cytokines in mucosal samples. Under intense stress, intermittent fasting down- or up-modulated the levels of most parameters in the duodenum and ileum, respectively while up-regulated corticosterone levels without affecting epinephrine. Our data suggest intermittent fasting plus intense stress elicited neuroendocrine pathways that differentially controlled IgA and pIgR expression in duodenum and ileum. These findings provide experimental foundations for a presumable impact of intermittent fasting under intense stress on the intestinal homeostasis or inflammation by triggering or reducing the IgA production in ileum or duodenum respectively.

Keywords: Diet; Intestinal homeostasis; Secretory IgA; Stress hormones; pIgR.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Duodenum / metabolism*
  • Fasting / metabolism*
  • Fasting / psychology
  • Ileum / metabolism*
  • Immunoglobulin A / biosynthesis*
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Time Factors


  • Immunoglobulin A