One Year in Antarctica: Mucosal Immunity at Three Australian Stations
Gleeson, M and Francis, JL and Lugg, DJ and Clancy, RL and Ayton, JM and Renolds, JA and McConnell, CA, One Year in Antarctica: Mucosal Immunity at Three Australian Stations, Immunology and Cell Biology, 78, (6) pp. 616-622. ISSN 0818-9641 (2000) [Refereed Article]
The effect of a year's isolation in Antarctica on the human mucosal immune system was assessed during the winter of 1992 at three Australian Antarctic stations: Casey, Davis and Mawson. Saliva samples were collected from each expeditioner prior to their departure from Australia and during each month in Antarctica. The concentrations of salivary immunoglobulins IgA and IgG were significantly different between the three stations, but there were no differences for salivary IgM and albumin. The mean concentrations of IgA were higher at Mawson (P < 0.008), and the mean concentrations of IgG were lower at Davis (P < 0.001) compared with the other stations. Ranges of values observed at the stations over the 12-13 months were similar. The variability of values within individuals showed station differences for salivary IgM and IgG only. The study revealed significant changes in salivary immunoglobulin values over the period in Antarctica, with similar patterns at the three Australian stations. The salivary IgA and IgM levels were lower in the first 4 months in Antarctica (January-April) and increased to maximum values in July-August, before returning to mean levels when isolation was broken in October-November. The patterns of salivary IgA and IgM suggest that stressors due to isolation may play a role in alterations of mucosal immunity in expeditioners in Antarctica.