Background: Carriage of Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mp) in the nasopharynx is considered a prerequisite for pulmonary infection. It is interesting to note that Mp carriage is also detected after infection. Although B cells are known to be involved in pulmonary Mp clearance, their role in Mp carriage is unknown.
Methods: In this study, we show in a mouse model that Mp persists in the nose after pulmonary infection, similar to humans.
Results: Infection of mice enhanced Mp-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) M and IgG levels in serum and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. However, nasal washes only contained elevated Mp-specific IgA. These differences in Ig compartmentalization correlated with differences in Mp-specific B cell responses between nose- and lung-draining lymphoid tissues. Moreover, transferred Mp-specific serum Igs had no effect on nasal carriage in B cell-deficient μMT mice, whereas this enabled μMT mice to clear pulmonary Mp infection.
Conclusions: We report the first evidence that humoral immunity is limited in clearing Mp from the upper respiratory tract.
Keywords: B cells; Mycoplasma pneumoniae; carriage; mouse model; pneumonia.
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