Respiratory antigen administration by inhalation, or by intranasal (i.n.)1 or intratracheal (i.t.) instillation, is known to induce a marked antibody response in a variety of animals including man (1–3). Respiratory immunization has further gained special interest by its induction of secretory IgA antibodies, which play a role as a local barrier against various human respiratory virus infections (4, 5).

Evidence is accumulating that this secretory 11S IgA is produced by plasma cells, located in the nasal and bronchial submucosae (6, 7), in a similar way as the well-known IgA production by plasma cells in the intestinal submucosa after oral antigen administration (8). Less known aspects of the secretory immunologic response of the respiratory tract are, however, its relation to the systemic immune response, and the existence of a distinct anamnestic secretory IgA response (9–11).

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