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Protein energy malnutrition alters mucosal IgA responses and reduces mucosal vaccine efficacy in mice

Rho, S;Kim, H;Shim, SH;Lee, SY;Kim, MJ;Yang, BG;Jang, MH;Han, BW;Song, MK;Czerkinsky, C;Kim, JO;

Oral vaccine responsiveness is often lower in children from less developed countries. Childhood malnutrition may be associated with poor immune response to oral vaccines. The present study was designed to investigate whether protein energy malnutrition (PEM) impairs B cell immunity and ultimately reduces oral vaccine efficacy in a mouse model. Purified isocaloric diets containing low protein (1/10 the protein of the control diet) were used to determine the effect of PEM. PEM increased both nonspecific total IgA and oral antigen-specific IgA in serum without alteration of gut permeability. However, PEM decreased oral antigen-specific IgA in feces, which is consistent with decreased expression of polymeric Immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR) in the small intestine. Of note, polymeric IgA was predominant in serum under PEM. In addition, PEM altered B cell development status in the bone marrow and increased the frequency of IgA-secreting B cells, as well as IgA secretion by long-lived plasma cells in the small intestinal lamina propria. Moreover, PEM reduced the protective efficacy of the mucosally administered cholera vaccine and recombinant attenuated Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium vaccine in a mouse model. Our results suggest that PEM can impair mucosal immunity where IgA plays an important role in host protection and may partly explain the reduced efficacy of oral vaccines in malnourished subjects.