Antibody A, also called antibody Iga, is a component of the immune system that helps to deactivate and destroy bacteria or viruses invading the body. The location of this type of antibody near the openings of the body makes it an essential initial component of the immune process. Tests for antibody A can help to diagnose a variety of conditions and treatments, including celiac disease and environmental allergies.
Production of antibodies begins when the immune system recognizes a threat. Plasma cells, a type of white blood cell, produce antibody proteins created to work on the specific invader that was detected. A portion of the antibody is able to snap into the antigen, or specifying mark on the invader, to deactivate the threat. An antibody that has been produced once will continue to be produced in the body to deal with future occurrences of the threat.
There are five types of antibodies present in most human bodies: A, G, M, D, and E. Antibodies are also called immunoglobulins so the names can also be written with a leading "Ig", such as antibody Iga. The antibodies vary in location and mechanism of action, but antibody A is typically the first that an invader will encounter upon invading the body.
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Found primarily in bodily secretions, antibody A has a prime location near the orifices frequently used by viruses and bacteria as a port of entry. Tears, mucus, and blood contain this protein, and up to 15% of the body's total antibodies belong to this group. Though it is rare, some individuals have an immune system so compromised that there is no antibody A present.
Blood testing may be done if an autoimmune condition, such as celiac disease, is suspected. Celiac disease causes the body's antibodies to incorrectly target gluten as if it were a virus, and the ingestion of gluten triggers a full immune response. This chain reaction of attacking antibody A adversely effects an intestinal enzyme, causing digestive issues that can become severe.
Antibody A testing can be prescribed for other suspected conditions, including the inflammatory disease rheumatoid arthritis. Less serious conditions such as food intolerance or environmental allergies can be diagnosed with this test. The measure of antibodies is able to determine a specific cause for the symptoms.