OBJECTIVE: To conduct a proof-of-concept study on preferential binding of polymeric IgA (pIgA) using a novel recombinant rabbit/human chimeric secretory component (cSC) and preliminary assessment of the diagnostic potential of virus-specific pIgA in discriminating acute hepatitis A, E, and C (HAV, HEV, HCV) patients and uninfected controls using an indirect enzyme-linked immunoassay. RESULTS: cSC binds > 0.06 mug/ml of purified human and mouse pIgA with negligible cross-reactivity against IgM and IgA. Virus-specific pIgA was significantly higher in serum of acute HAV (n = 6) and HEV (n = 12) patients than uninfected samples (HEV: p < 0.001; HAV: p = 0.001), and had low correlation with virus-specific IgM (HEV r: - 0.25, 95% CI - 0.88 to 0.71, p = 0.636; HAV r: 0.05, 95% CI - 0.54 to 0.60, p: 0.885). Anti-HCV pIgA peaked early in HCV seroconversion panels (n = 14), and was undetectable after 4 weeks post-primary bleed, even in ongoing infections, while serum anti-HCV IgA, IgG and IgM persisted. Patients with early acute HCV infection had significantly higher levels of anti-HCV pIgA compared to those with chronic infections (p < 0.01). The use of novel cSC demonstrates the presence of virus-specific pIgA in sera of patients with acute HAV, HEV, and HCV infection, and posits its potential utility as a diagnostic biomarker that warrants further validation on larger sample populations.
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The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Victorian
Operational Infrastructure Support Program (Department of Health, Victoria,
Australia) to the Burnet Institute.