Immunization enhances the natural antibody repertoire.
The role of immunization in the production of antibodies directed against immunogens is widely appreciated in laboratory animals and in humans. However, the role of immunization in the development of "natural antibodies" has not been investigated. Natural antibodies are those antibodies present without known history of infection or immunization, and react to a wide range of targets, including "cryptic" self-antigens that are exposed upon cell death. In this study, the ability of immunization to elicit the production of natural antibodies in laboratory rats was evaluated. Laboratory rats were immunized with a series of injections using peanut extracts (a common allergen), a high molecular weight protein conjugated to hapten (FITC-KLH), and a carbohydrate conjugated to hapten (DNP-Ficall). Significantly greater binding of antibodies from immunized animals compared to controls was observed to numerous autologous organ extracts (brain, kidney, liver, lung, prostate, and spleen) for both IgM and IgG, although the effect was more pronounced for IgM. These studies suggest that immunization may have at least one unforeseen benefit, enhancing networks of natural antibodies that may be important in such processes as wound repair and tumor surveillance. Such enhancement of natural antibody function may be particularly important in Western society, where decreased exposure to the environment may be associated with a weakened natural antibody repertoire.
Beinart, D; Ren, D; Pi, C; Poulton, S; Holzknecht, ZE; Swanson, C; Parker, W
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