Mucous peristalsis, mucus and immunity proteins, such as lysozyme and lactoferrin, are part of humoral innate immunity. The aim of this study was to develop a quantitative method, a time-resolved-immunofluorometric assay, to measure lysozyme and lactoferrin in sera, saliva, stools and cervico-vaginal secretions. This method was validated in 51 healthy subjects. Linearity for lysozyme was between 1.02 and 25 μg/l and for lactoferrin between 1.02 and 100 μg/. The detection limit was 0.5 μg/l for lysozyme and 1 μg/l for lactoferrin. Albumin and α1-antitrypsin were measured by immuno-nephelometry to calculate salivary, intestinal and cervico-vaginal coefficients of excretion. Lysozyme and lactoferrin were present in all types of mucosal surfaces. Very high concentrations of lysozyme and lactoferrin were found in cervico-vaginal fluid (166.2 and 72.7 mg/l, respectively), compared to the concentrations found in the other mucosal fluids. Lysozyme in stools was produced at the rate of 0.42 mg/d compared to 0.02 mg/d lactoferrin production. Lysozyme and lactoferrin greatly exceeded the values expected from the molecular weight-affected seepage from plasma, suggesting primarily local synthesis in healthy subjects. Quantitative measurement of lysozyme and lactoferrin can aid in the assessment of the activity of mucus-associated lymphoid tissues in innate immunity, and can help in further understanding of the role of these proteins in mucosal diseases.
Copyright © 2003 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG