IgA and IgM rheumatoid factors in serum, saliva and other secretions: Relationship to immunoglobulin ratios in systemic sicca syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis

K. B. Elkon, A. E. Gharavi, B. M. Patel, G. R. Hughes, A. Frankel

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Paired serum and saliva samples from seven patients with systemic sicca syndrome (SSS), 15 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and a positive Schirmer's test (RA+), 15 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and negative Schirmer's test (RA-) and 14 normal individuals were analysed for albumin and immunoglobulin concentration as well as IgA and IgM rheumatoid factor (RF) activity. Protein levels in saliva were higher in SSS and RA+ but, when corrected for serum concentration and salivary flow rate, only the IgG ratio remained significantly elevated in SSS (P <0.01) and RA- (P < 0.5) and the IgM ratio was reduced in RA- (P < 0.05) compared to controls. Although IgM RF activity in serum and saliva was strongly correlated (P < 0.001) in all three patient groups, the activity in saliva was considerably lower than serum activity. In the two (RA) patients tested, IgM RF in saliva contained secretory component. Mean salivary IgA RF activity varied between 34% (RA-) and 84% (SSS) of serum activity and correlated with serum activity in SSS (P <0.001) and RA- (P <0.01). IgA RFs in saliva, but not in serum, contained secretory component. Additional demonstration of IgA RF activity in nasal and duodenal secretions in SSS may be related to involvement of the common mucosal immune system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1983


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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