The role of secretory immunity in hepatitis A virus infection

Jack T. Stapleton, David K. Lange, James W. LeDuc, Leonard N. Binn, Robert W. Jansen, Stanley M. Lemon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Because the role of intestinal immunity remains uncertain in hepatitis A, samples of feces and saliva from infected primates and humans were tested for virus neutralizing activity. Only two of eight owl monkeys infected by the intragastric route developed neutralizing antibody detectable in extracts of feces collected up to 88 days after viral challenge, although serum neutralizing antibody was present in all monkeys by day 33. Similarly, neutralizing antibody was detected in fecal extracts from none of three experimentally infected human volunteers and only 1 of 15 naturally infected humans. The single positive human specimen contained occult blood. Only 2 of 19 saliva samples from naturally infected humans had significant viral neutralizing activity. In contrast, neutralizing antibody to type 2 poliovirus was present in most human fecal or saliva specimens tested. These data suggest that intestinal immunity does not play a significant role in protection against hepatitis A.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-11
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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