Salivary IgA responses during the first two years of life : a study of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children

  • Su Mon Kyaw-Myint

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi),Streptococcus pneumoniae and Moraxella catarrhalis are common bacterial agents of otitis media which is a major cause of morbidity in young children. Mucosal immune responses are an integral part of the immune defense against middle ear infection and it is known that certain populations, including Australian Aboriginal children, are highly susceptible to disease. The current study focussed on the development of the mucosal immunity to the three bacterial pathogens in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children from birth to two years of age, living in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region of Western Australia. Salivary and breast milk IgA levels were measured by the enzyme Linked immunosorbent assay. The measured IgA levels, combined with socio-economic, demographic and bacteriological data were analyzed statistically to determine the influential factors on the mucosal IgA response in these children over time. This study found that each antigen-specific IgA examined followed a distinct ontogeny pattern and IgA responses differed significantly according to age, indigenous status and feeding type. Indoors smoke exposure, maternal smoking, and sibling day care attendance had some impact on salivary IgA levels in the children. However, household crowding and the presence of older siblings had the most significant impact on salivary IgA levels for children of different age groups. These two factors were correlated to increased nasophayrngeal colonization by H. influenzae, S. pneumoniae and M. catarrhalis and colonization status was also found to influence salivary IgA levels in the children. No correlation between maternal breast milk IgA levels and child salivary IgA levels was observed. The results suggest that the degree of exposure to environmental factors rather than immunological deficit is responsible for the observed differences in salivary IgA responses between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children and modifying these factors could lead to a reduction in the burden of otitis media experienced by the children. Further studies correlating specific salivary IgA levels to diseases such as otitis media will reveal the role of specific salivary IgA responses in the prevention of infection by respiratory pathogens.
    Date of Award2003
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorAllan W. Cripps (Supervisor), Ruth Foxwell (Supervisor) & Jenelle Kyd (Supervisor)

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