OBJECTIVES: Immune activation and intestinal microbial dysbiosis could induce diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D). We examined the roles of ileal immunoglobulin A (IgA) and IgA-coated bacteria in IBS-D pathogenesis. METHODS: Peripheral blood, fecal samples, and ileal and cecal biopsies were collected from 32 healthy volunteers and 44 patients with IBS-D. Quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was used to assess differential gene expression. IgA levels in the blood and fecal samples were quantified by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. IgA cells were assessed by immunofluorescence imaging. Flow-cytometry-based IgA bacterial cell sorting and 16S rRNA gene sequencing (IgA-SEQ) was used to isolate and identify fecal IgA bacteria. RESULTS: Fecal IgA, particularly IgA1, was upregulated in patients with IBS-D. IgA class switch and B cell-activating factor-receptor were increased in the terminal ileum of patients. The intestinal microbiota composition was altered in patients compared with that in controls. IgA-SEQ showed that the proportion of fecal IgA-coated bacteria was increased significantly in patients with IBS-D. IgA bacteria in patients with IBS-D showed higher abundances of Escherichia-Shigella, Granulicatella, and Haemophilus compared with healthy controls and IgA bacteria in patients with IBS-D. The Escherichia-Shigella IgA coating index was positively correlated with anxiety and depression. The Escherichia-Shigella relative abundance, luminal IgA activity, and some altered IgA-coated bacteria were positively associated with the clinical manifestations of IBS-D. DISCUSSION: Microbial dysbiosis may promote the terminal ileal mucosa to produce higher levels of IgA, increasing the proportion of IgA-coated bacteria by activating IgA class switching, which might regulate local inflammation and clinical manifestations in IBS-D. IgA may mediate the effects of microbial dysbiosis on the pathogenesis of IBS-D.
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