IgA, IgE and IgG subclasses to Candida albicans in serum and vaginal fluid from patients with vulvovaginal candidiasis

PURPOSE: To determine the levels of IgA, IgE, IgG and subclasses (IgG1, IgG4) antibodies specific to C. albicans in serum and vaginal washes from women with or without vulvovaginal candidiasis in order to evaluate the role of these antibodies in the immunopathogenesis of the disease. METHODS: Thirty women with clinical symptoms of vulvovaginal candidiasis (15 positive vaginal culture to C. albicans, 11 negative culture and 4 positive culture to non-C. albicans) and 12 asymptomatic control women were selected. Serum and vaginal wash samples were obtained for the detection of anti-C. albicans antibodies by ELISA. RESULTS: Symptomatic patients with positive culture showed significantly higher levels of specific IgA in vaginal washes and lower in serum than those with negative culture. Specific serum IgE levels were very low compared to vaginal IgE. High levels of total specific IgG were found in serum and vaginal washes in both groups, regardless the fungal presence or absence. Specific IgG1 e IgG4 levels were significantly higher only in vaginal washes from symptomatic patients with positive culture, with a slightly higher IgG1/IgG4 ratio, indicating that the IgG1 antibody response may be predominantly involved in the fungal clearance. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate a pronounced antibody response of IgA, IgG1 and IgG4 to C. albicans in vaginal washes in symptomatic patients with positive culture, suggesting a important role of these antibodies in the local immune response triggered by the presence of the fungus.

Vulvovaginal Candidiasis; Candida albicans; IgA; IgE; IgG; IgG1; IgG4; Immunopathogenesis

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