Immunologic Research

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 1–6 | Cite as

Peroral immunotheraphy with yolk antibodies for the prevention and treatment of enteric infections

  • David Carlander
  • Hans Kollberg
  • Per-Erik Wejåker
  • Anders Larsson


Oral administration of specific antibodies is an attractive approach to establish protective immunity against gastrointestinal pathogens in humans and animals. The increasing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria emphasize the need to find alternatives to antibiotics. Immunotherapy can also be used against pathogens that are difficult to treat with traditional antibiotics.

Laying hens are very good producers of specific antibodies. After immunization, the specific antibodies are transported to the egg yolk from which the antibodies then can be purified. A laying hen produces more than 20 g of yolk antibodies (IgY) per year. These antibodies also have biochemical properties that make them attractive for peroral immunotherapy: They neither activate mammalian complement nor interact with mammalian Fc receptors that could mediate inflammatory response in the gastrointestinal tract. Eggs are also normal dietary components and thus there is practically no risk of toxic side effects of IgY. Yolk antibodies have been shown in several studies to prevent bacterial and viral infections.

Key Words

Antibody Chicken Egg Immunoglobulin Yolk Review 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Larsson A, Bålöw R-M, Lindahl TL, Forsberg P-O: Chicken IgG: Utilizing the evolutionary advantage. Poultry Science 1993;72:1807–1812PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bartz CR, Conklin RH, Tunstall CB, Steele JH: Prevention of murine rotavirus infection with chicken egg yolk immunoglobulins. J Infect Dis 1980;242:439–441.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hamada S, Horikoshi T, Minami T, Kawabata S, Hiraoka J, Fujiwara T, Ooshima T: Oral passive immunization against dental caries in rats by use of hen egg yolk antibodies specific for cell-associated glucosyltransferase of Streptococcus mutans. Infect Immun 1991; 59:4161–4167.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hatta H, Tsuda K, Ozeki M, Kim M, Yamamoto T, Otake S, Hirasawa M, Katz J, Childers NK, Michalek SM: Passive immunization against dental plaque formation in humans: effect of a mouth rinse containing egg yolk antibodies (IgY) specific to Streptococcus mutans. Cancer Res 1997;31:268–274.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kuroki M, Ohta M, Ikemori Y, Peralta RC, Yokoyama H, Kodama Y: Passive protection against bovine rotavirus in calves by specific immunoglobulins from chicken egg yolk. Arch Virol 1994;138:143–148.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Leslie GA, Clem LW: Chicken immunoglobulins: biological halflives and normal adult serum concentrations of IgM and IgY. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1970;134:195–198.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Schade R, Staak C, Hendriksen C, Erhard M, Hugl H, Koch G, Larsson A Pollmann W, Regenmortel M, Rijke E, Spielmann H, Steinbusch H, Straughan D: The production of avian (egg yolk) antibodies: IgY. ATLA 1996;24:925–934.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hilpert H, Brussow H, Mietens C, Sidoti J, Lerner L, Werchau H: Use of bovine milk concentrate containing antibody to rotavirus to treat rotavirus gastroenteritis in infants. J Infect Dis 1987;156:158–166.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Losonsky GA, Johnson JP, Winkelstein JA, Yolken RH: Oral administration of human serum immunoglobulin in immunodeficient patients with viral gastroenteritis. A pharmacokientic and functional analysis. J Clin Invest 1985;76:2362–2367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Yokoyama H, Peralta RC, Sendo S, Ikemori Y, Kodama Y: Detection of passage and absorption of chicken egg yolk immunoglobulins in the gastrointestinal tract of pigs by use of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and fluorescent antibody testing. Am J Vet Res 1993;54:867–872.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Blum PM, Phelps DL, Ank BJ, Krantman HJ, Stiehm ER: Survival of oral human immune serum globulin in the gastrointestinal tract of low birth weight infants. Pediatr Res 1981;15:1256–1260.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Eibl MM, Wolf HM, Furnkranz H, Rosenkranz A: Prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis in low-birth-weight infants by IgA-IgG feeding. N Engl J Med 1988;319:1–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bernhisel-Broadbent J, Yolken RH, Sampson HA: Allergenicity of orally administered immunoglobulin preparations in food-allergic children. Pediatrics 1991;87:208–214.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Yokoyama H, Peralta RC, Umeda K, Hashi T, Icatlo FC Jr, Kuroki M, Ikemori Y, Kodama Y: Prevention of fatal salmonellosis in neonatal calves, using orally administered chicken egg yolk Salmonellaspecific antibodies. Am J Vet Res 1998;59:416–420.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Peralta RC, Yokoyama H, Ikemori Y, Kuroki M, Kodama Y: Passive immunisation against experimental salmonellosis in mice by orally administered hen egg-yolk antibodies specific for 14-kDA fimbriae of Salmonella enteritidis. J Med Microbiol 1994;41:29–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Yokoyama H, Peralta RC, Diaz R, Sendo S, Ikemori Y, Kodama Y: Passive protective effect of chicken egg yolk immunoglobulins against experimental enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli infection in neonatal piglets. Infect Immun 1992;60:998–1007.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    O'Farrelly C, Branton D, Wanke CA: Oral ingestion of egg yolk immunoglobulin from hens immunized with an enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli strain prevents diarrhea in rabbits challenged with the same strain. Infect Immun 1992;60:2593–2597.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Carlander D, Kollberg H, Wejåker, PE, and Larsson A. (1999) Prevention of chronic pseudomonas aeruginosa colonisation by gargling with specific antibodies. Proceedings from the 2nd international symposium on egg nutrition and newly merging ovo-biotechnologies. CAB International, Wallingford, Oxon, UK. Book, accepted.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ikemori Y, Ohta M, Umeda K, Icatlo FC Jr, Kuroki M, Yokoyama H, Kodama Y: Passive protection of neonatal calves against bovine coronavirus-induced diarrhea by administration of egg yolk or colostrum antibody powder. Vet Microbiol 1997;58:105–111.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kuroki M, Ohta M, Ikemori Y, Icatlo FC Jr, Kobayashi C, Yokoyama H, Kodama Y: Field evaluation of chicken egg yolk immunoglobulins specific for bovine rotavirus in neonatal calves. Arch Virol 1997;142:843–851.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kuroki M, Ikemori Y, Yokoyama H, Peralta RC, Icatlo FC Jr, Kodama Y: Passive protection against bovine rotavirus-induced diarrhea in murine model by specific immunoglobulins from chicken egg yolk. Vet Microbiol 1993;37:135–146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ebina T, Tsukada K, Umezu K, Nose M, Tsuda K, Hatta H, Kim M, Yamamoto T: Gastroenteritis in suckling mice caused by human rotavirus can be prevented with egg yolk immunoglobulin (IgY) and treated with a proteinbound poly-saccharide preparation (PSK). Micro-biol Immunol 1990;34:617–629.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Davidson GP, Whyte PB, Daniels E, Franklin K, Nunan H, McCloud PI, Moore AG, Moore DJ: Passive immunisation of children with bovine colostrum containing antibodies to human rotavirus. Lancet 1989; 2:709–712PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cama VA, Sterling CR: Hyperimmune hens as a novel source of anti-Cryptosporidum antibodies suitable for passiveimmune transfer. J Protozool 1991;38:42S-43S.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Okhuysen PC, Chappell CL, Crabb J, Valdez LM, Douglass ET, DuPont HL: Prophylactic effect of bovine anti-Cryptosporidium hyperimmune colostrum immunoglobulin in healthy volunteers challenged with Cryptosporidium parvum. Clin Infect Dis 1998;26:1324–1329.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Carlander
    • 1
  • Hans Kollberg
    • 2
  • Per-Erik Wejåker
    • 1
  • Anders Larsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical SciencesUniversity HospitalUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsChildren's University HospitalUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations