The GI tract serves a vital function by excluding the uptake of enteropathogens, which is accomplished in large part by the antigen binding activity of the immunoglobulin secretory IgA [ LEARN MORE]
4 to 6 days
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Immunological activity in the gastrointestinal tract can be assessed using secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA). Secretory IgA is the predominant antibody, or immune protein the body manufactures and releases in external secretions such as saliva, tears, and milk. It is also transported through the epithelial cells that line the intestines out into the lumen. Secretory IgA represents the first line of defense of the GI mucosa and is central to the normal function of the GI tract as an immune barrier. As the principal immunoglobulin isotype present in mucosal secretions, sIgA plays an important role in controlling intestinal milieu which is constantly presented with potentially harmful antigens such as pathogenic bacteria, parasites, yeast, viruses, abnormal cell antigens, and allergenic proteins. Fecal secretory IgA antibodies exert their function by binding to antigenic epitopes on the invading microorganism, limiting their mobility and adhesion to the epithelium of the mucus membrane. This prevents the antigens from reaching systemic circulation and allowing them to be excreted directly in the feces.