Medical Microbiology and Immunology

, Volume 208, Issue 2, pp 205–213 | Cite as

Secretory IgA-mediated immune response in saliva and early detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the lower airways of pediatric cystic fibrosis patients

  • Renan Marrichi Mauch
  • Claudio Lucio Rossi
  • Marcos Tadeu Nolasco da Silva
  • Talita Bianchi Aiello
  • José Dirceu Ribeiro
  • Antônio Fernando Ribeiro
  • Niels Høiby
  • Carlos Emilio LevyEmail author
Original Investigation


Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa) detection in the paranasal sinuses may help to prevent or postpone bacterial aspiration to the lower airways (LAW) and chronic lung infection in cystic fibrosis (CF). We assessed the ability of an ELISA test for measurement of specific Pa secretory IgA (sIgA) in saliva (a potential marker of sinus colonization) to early detect changes in the Pa LAW status (indicated by microbiological sputum or cough swab culture and specific serum IgG levels) of 65 patients for three years, in different investigation scenarios. Increased sIgA levels were detected in saliva up to 22 months before changes in culture/serology. Patients who remained Pa-positive had significantly increased sIgA levels than patients who remained Pa-negative, both at the baseline (39.6 U/mL vs. 19.2 U/mL; p = 0.02) and at the end of the follow-up (119.4 U/mL vs. 25.2 U/mL; p < 0.001). No association was found between sIgA levels in saliva and emergence or recurrence of Pa in the LAW. A positive median sIgA result in the first year of follow-up implied up to 12.5-fold increased risk of subsequent Pa exposure in the LAW. Our test detected early changes in the P. aeruginosa LAW status and risk of exposure to P. aeruginosa in the LAW with two years in advance. Comparison with sinus culture is needed to assess the test’s ability to identify CF patients in need of a sinus approach for Pa investigation, which could provide opportunities of Pa eradication before its aspiration to the lungs.


Cystic fibrosis Pseudomonas aeruginosa Respiratory tract infections Diagnosis Secretory IgA Saliva 



We thank all the CF patients who accepted to participate in this study and their families. We also thank the staff of the HC Unicamp Pediatric Outpatient Clinic and of the HC Unicamp Division of Clinical Pathology (in particular, the Laboratory of Microbiology) for their help with sample collection and processing.


This study was financed by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) (Grant number 2014/00007-8) and by the Unicamp Support Fund for Teaching, Research and Community Issues (FAEPEX) (Grant number 0112/17).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renan Marrichi Mauch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Claudio Lucio Rossi
    • 1
  • Marcos Tadeu Nolasco da Silva
    • 2
  • Talita Bianchi Aiello
    • 3
  • José Dirceu Ribeiro
    • 2
  • Antônio Fernando Ribeiro
    • 2
  • Niels Høiby
    • 4
    • 5
  • Carlos Emilio Levy
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Pathology, School of Medical SciencesUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Center for Investigation in Pediatrics, School of Medical SciencesUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratory of MicrobiologyCentro Médico de CampinasCampinasBrazil
  4. 4.Clinical Microbiology DepartmentRigshospitalet (Copenhagen University Hospital)CopenhagenDenmark
  5. 5.Costerton Biofilm Centre, Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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