Nasopharyngeal secretory immunoglobulins in children with recurrent acute otitis media and secretory otitis media

APMIS. 1988 Mar;96(3):199-205. doi: 10.1111/j.1699-0463.1988.tb05291.x.


Secretory IgA (SIgA) and secretory IgM (SIgM), total IgA and total IgM were measured in plasma and nasopharyngeal secretions (NPS) from young children with different degrees of otitis proneness. Significantly higher levels of plasma IgM and lower levels of NPS-SIgM were found in children with recurrent episodes of acute otitis media (rAOM) compared with children suffering from secretory otitis media (SOM) and healthy controls. Both plasma IgA and NPS-SIgA were evenly distributed in the three groups of children investigated, and in most children the levels of NPS-SIgA exceeded plasma IgA levels. Plasma SIgA was significantly increased in children with rAOM and SOM, probably resulting from frequent occurrence of inflammatory events at the nasopharyngeal level. No correlation could be demonstrated between NPS-SIgA and plasma IgA, or between NPS-SIgM and plasma IgM. Also, for both NPS-SIgA and NPS-SIgM, there was no correlation with age. A negative correlation was observed between the transudation index of albumin to the nasopharynx and the ratio of NPS-SIgA to total NPS-IgA. A ratio of 1 (100%) corresponded to a transudation index of 8%. The ratios of NPS-SIgA to total NPS-IgA varied considerably and a range of 39%-88% could only to some extent be explained by transudation of plasma IgA to NPS. The results of the present study show that the children with rAOM and SOM are well furnished with locally produced SIgA antibodies at the nasopharyngeal level. In children with SOM, the nasopharyngeal hypofunction in the case of low NPS-SIgM seems to be less pronounced compared with that of otitis-prone children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Age Factors
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin M / immunology
  • Immunoglobulins / metabolism*
  • Infant
  • Nasopharynx / immunology*
  • Nasopharynx / metabolism
  • Otitis Media / immunology*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / immunology
  • Recurrence


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Immunoglobulins