In humans, several grams of IgA are secreted every day in the intestinal lumen. While only one IgA isotype exists in mice, humans secrete IgA1 and IgA2, whose respective relations with the microbiota remain elusive. We compared the binding patterns of both polyclonal IgA subclasses to commensals and glycan arrays and determined the reactivity profile of native human monoclonal IgA antibodies. While most commensals are dually targeted by IgA1 and IgA2 in the small intestine, IgA1 + IgA2 + and IgA1 − IgA2 + bacteria coexist in the colon lumen, where Bacteroidetes is preferentially targeted by IgA2. We also observed that galactose-α terminated glycans are almost exclusively recognized by IgA2. Although bearing signs of affinity maturation, gut-derived IgA monoclonal antibodies are cross-reactive in the sense that they bind to multiple bacterial targets. Private anticarbohydrate-binding patterns, observed at clonal level as well, could explain these apparently opposing features of IgA, being at the same time cross-reactive and selective in its interactions with the microbiota.
Sarcoidosis is characterized by extensive local inflammation (granuloma, cytokine secretion) associated with anergy (poor response to antigens in vitro and in vivo). We postulated that this paradoxical situation would correspond to a disequilibrium between effector and regulatory T lymphocytes (T reg cells). We show that CD4 + CD25 bright FoxP3 + cells accumulate at the periphery of sarcoid granulomas, in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and in peripheral blood of patients with active disease. These cells exhibited powerful antiproliferative activity, yet did not completely inhibit TNF-α production. Sarcoidosis is therefore associated with a global T reg cell subset amplification whose activity would be insufficient to control local inflammation. At the same time, peripheral T reg cells exert powerful antiproliferative activity that may account for the state of anergy. Altogether, these findings advance our conceptual understanding of immune regulation in a way that resolves the immune paradox of sarcoidosis and permit us to envisage a profound clinical impact of T reg cell manipulation on immunity.