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Science. 1999 Dec 10;286(5447):2156-9.

Control of early viral and bacterial distribution and disease by natural antibodies.

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Institute for Experimental Immunology, University Hospital Zurich, Schmelzbergstrasse 12, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland.


Natural antibodies are often dismissed from immunological analysis as "background," but they may play an important role in conferring immunity against infections. In antibody-free mice infected with various viruses or with Listeria monocytogenes, viral or bacterial titers in peripheral organs, including the kidney and brain, were 10 to 100 times greater than in antibody-competent mice (and enhanced their susceptibility to some infections), and titers in secondary lymphoid organs were 10 to 100 times lower than in antibody-competent mice. Thus, natural antibodies play a crucial role by preventing pathogen dissemination to vital organs and by improving immunogenicity through enhanced antigen-trapping in secondary lymphoid organs.

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