Light chains of immunoglobulins in human secretions

Clin Chim Acta. 1994 Jan 31;224(2):191-7. doi: 10.1016/0009-8981(94)90185-6.


Immunoglobulin kappa light chains are predominant in normal human serum and a kappa/lambda ratio of 1.7 to 2 has been reported. However, little is known of the partition of light chains in secretions. The levels of IgA, kappa and lambda were assayed by nephelometry in a series of secretions and in normal human serum. Although kappa chains remained predominant, the different secretions studied could be classified according to their kappa/lambda ratio. In saliva (P < 0.001), nasal fluid (P = 0.01) and tears (P = 0.04) the kappa/lambda ratio was significantly lower than in serum. Conversely, higher kappa/lambda ratios were obtained in gastric juice (P = 0.005) and hepatic bile (P = 0.004) and no significant difference was noted between serum and gall bladder bile (P = 0.62). The lower ratios were all observed in fluids produced by glands surrounded by lymphoid tissue included in the mucosae-associated lymphoid tissue. These data strengthen previous observations that suggest a preferential production of lambda chains in human mucosae.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Fluids / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin lambda-Chains / analysis
  • Nephelometry and Turbidimetry


  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains
  • Immunoglobulin lambda-Chains