Intestinal Candida albicans overgrowth in IgA deficiency

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2023 May 9;S0091-6749(23)00566-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2023.03.033. Online ahead of print.


Background: Secretory IgA interacts with commensal bacteria, but its impact on human mycobiota ecology has not been widely explored. In particular, whether human IgA-deficiency is associated with gut fungal dysbiosis remains unknown.

Objectives: Our goal was to study the impact of IgA on gut mycobiota ecology.

Methods: The Fungi-Flow method was used to characterize fecal, systemic, and maternal IgA, IgM, and IgG responses against 14 representative fungal strains (yeast/spores or hyphae forms) in healthy donors (HDs) (n = 34, 31, and 20, respectively) and to also compare gut mycobiota opsonization by secretory antibodies in HDs (n = 28) and patients with selective IgA deficiency (SIgAd) (n = 12). Stool mycobiota composition was determined by internal transcribed spacer gene sequencing in HDs (n = 23) and patients with SIgAd (n = 17). Circulating CD4+ T-cell cytokine secretion profiles were determined by intracellular staining. The impact of secretory IgA, purified from breast milk (n = 9), on Candidaalbicans growth and intestinal Caco-2 cell invasion was tested in vitro.

Results: Homeostatic IgA binds commensal fungi with a body fluid-selective pattern of recognition. In patients with SIgAd, fungal gut ecology is preserved by compensatory IgM binding to commensal fungi. Gut Calbicans overgrowth nevertheless occurs in this condition but only in clinically symptomatic patients with decreased TH17/TH22 T-cell responses. Indeed, secretory IgA can reduce in vitro budding and invasion of intestinal cells by Calbicans and therefore exert control on this pathobiont.

Conclusion: IgA has a selective impact on Calbicans ecology to preserve fungal-host mutualism.

Keywords: Candida albicans; IgA deficiency; IgM; Mycobiota; homeostatic IgA.