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J Autoimmun. 2007 Dec;29(4):219-28. Epub 2007 Sep 20.

Properties and function of polyreactive antibodies and polyreactive antigen-binding B cells.

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Experimental Medicine Section, Oral Infection and Immunity Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Building 30, Room 106, 30 Convent Dr., MSC 4322, Bethesda, MD 20892-4322, USA.


The advent of hybridoma technology has made it possible to study in-depth individual antibody molecules. These studies have revealed a number of surprises that have and are continuing to change our view of the immune system. None of these was more surprising than the demonstration that many antibody molecules are polyreactive - that is they can bind to a variety of different and structurally unrelated self- and non-self-foreign antigens. These findings make it clear that self-reactivity is a common and not necessarily forbidden or pathogenic feature of the immune system and that the well-known broad antibacterial activity of natural antibodies is largely due to polyreactive antibodies. In this brief review we will discuss these insights and their impact on basic and clinical immunology.

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