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HIV and AIDS

Elevated IgM in the Saliva

10/25/2010

Question:

I found out that my saliva IgM is too high above average and my saliva IgA extremely low(almost 0). What does it mean? Also, can these values be correlated to the serum IgM and IgA levels? Thanks

Answer:

IgA is the dominant immunoglobulin in saliva. Its primary function is to provide mucosal barrier protection from infectious challenges. Some individuals have been identified as being IgA deficient (IgAd) and may be more susceptible to respiratory infections and sinusitis and some autoimmune diseases. Interestingly enough, even though IgA is the major immunoglobulin in saliva, dental diseases such as periodontal disease and dental caries have not been related to the decrease in expression. Frequency of IgA deficiency is approximately 1 in 500-800 individuals, and not all deficient individuals present with increased respiratory infection susceptibility. In earlier studies on IgA deficiency, patients demonstrated increased levels of IgM in whole saliva. The associated increase in IgM may be a compensatory response to low levels of IgA.

Another associated oral problem encountered in IgA deficient patients is increased risk of Candida sp. yeast infections.

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University