Low Level Antibodies of Saliva, an Indicator of Death Risk

Low Level Antibodies of Saliva, an Indicator of Death Risk

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 29 Dec 2015 - 15:22


Lower levels of antibodies in saliva are linked with an increased risk of mortality and an early warning sign of mortality according to a study published in PLOS ONE Journal. White blood cells release Ig (immunoglobulins) or antibodies. These proteins help in fighting infectious disease. Spread across the body by circulation, they neutralize, destroy the bacteria, viruses and other foreign materials.

Secretory IgA (sIgA) is in the mucus lining of the gastrointestinal tract, mouth and nose and helps fight infections caused by virus and bactera of the upper respiratory tract, like influenza and colds.

The study explains that in the case of oral health, low-levels of sIgA seems to be a risk marker for tooth decay, while high levels are linked with present oral infection. The connection between slgA and health is quite complicated and hence in order to understand this better, researchers from the University of Birmingham analyzed the link between secretory immunoglobulin-A (sIgA) in saliva and mortality rates. The saliva of about 640 participants was sampled way back in 1995 and their IgA secretion rate was evaluated for mortality rate for 19 years.

Study Findings: Researchers found that IgA secretion rate was negatively linked with all-cause mortality and found a clear connection with cancer mortality especially, with non-lung cancers. They believe that saliva sampling is less invasive as compared to blood sampling to identify IgA secretion rate.

Dr. Anna Phillips, University of Birmingham, explains, "There are a number of factors that can affect how well we produce antibodies and maintain their levels. There are some that we have no control over, such as age, heritability or illness, but our general state of health can also affect their levels; stress, diet, exercise, alcohol and smoking can all influence those levels.”

She adds that researchers are on the way to establishing the threshold level of the secretion rate to be considered before the saliva samples could be used in the health checkups. However, she believes that if the level is very low, it could be taken as an early indicator of risk.


Reference: Salivary Immunoglobulin A Secretion Rate is Negatively Associated with Cancer Mortality: the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study, Anna C. Phillips et al., PLOS ONE, published 24 December 2015.



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