The concentration of biliary IgA is greatly reduced after scald burn injury in the rat, thereby contributing to a deficiency in upper intestinal immune defense. This reduction in biliary IgA might have several explanations, including failure of the trans-hepatic transport of polymeric IgA (pIgA) from the circulation, decreased delivery of pIgA to the hepatocyte, or decreased local synthesis of IgA in the liver. The authors examined whether burn injury reduces circulating pIgA available for delivery to the hepatocyte. In initial studies, they demonstrated that burn injury induces a decrease in circulating pIgA in bile-duct-ligated rats. They then sought to determine whether this decrease in pIgA was due to increased loss from the circulation or to a decreased supply of pIgA to the circulation through the thoracic duct. After injection of purified 125I-pIgA into bile duct-ligated rats, radioactivity was removed more rapidly from the circulation of burn-injured compared with control rats. The radioactivity localized in the skin and muscle at the site of burn injury. In another group of rats with patent bile ducts, the thoracic duct was cannulated and lymph collected for 12 hours. The total amount of IgA protein in lymph was found to be reduced in burn-injured compared with control animals. Thus, burn injury is accompanied by reduced circulating pIgA, which may be attributed to its enhanced loss from the circulation and to decreased delivery of pIgA from the intestinal mucosa to the systemic circulation via the thoracic duct.
© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.