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Sequential assay of human milk immunoglobulins shows a predominance of lambda chains



Sequential assay of human milk immunoglobulins shows a predominance of lambda chains



Laboratory Investigation; A Journal of Technical Methods and Pathology 67(1): 147-151



Background: Little is known of the light chains associated to heavy chains in secretions immunoglobulins. We investigate the partition of light chains in a mucosal fluid of easy access and major physiologic importance: human milk. Experimental design: This study provides a sequential analysis of IgA, .lambda. and .kappa. chains levels in human milk during the first days of lactation. The levels of IgA .alpha.-chain and of .lambda. and .kappa. light chains of immunoglobulins were assayed in 162 samples of normal human milk and collected during the first night of lactation, using a classical immunophelometric assay. A specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was developed to specifically measure the levels of IgA-linked light chains, yielding similar values. Ten samples of normal human serum obtained from healthy adults were tested in parallel. Results: The highest levels were observed during the first 3 days of lactation, and a plateau appeared for the three proteins after day 4. Mean .lambda. chains levels were consistently higher than these of .kappa. chains, resulting in a reversed .kappa./.lambda. ratio, significantly different from the classical 2:1 serum ratio confirmed with this method on control samples. Conclusions: This study indicates that milk immunoglobulins use an unusual partition of light chains, especially in IgA.

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Accession: 002219139

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PMID: 1625445


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