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Nat Rev Immunol. 2010 Nov;10(11):778-86. doi: 10.1038/nri2849. Epub 2010 Oct 15.

The importance of natural IgM: scavenger, protector and regulator.

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Centre for Rheumatology, Division of Medicine, University College London, Windeyer Institute of Medical Science, 46 Cleveland Street, London W1P 4JF, UK.


The existence of IgM has been known for more than a century, but its importance in immunity and autoimmunity continues to emerge. Studies of mice deficient in secreted IgM have provided unexpected insights into its role in several diverse processes, from B cell survival to atherosclerosis, as well as in autoimmunity and protection against infection. Among the various distinct properties that underlie the functions of IgM, two stand out: its polyreactivity and its ability to facilitate the removal of apoptotic cells. In addition, new B cell-targeted therapies for the treatment of autoimmunity have been shown to cause a reduction in serum IgM, potentially disrupting the functions of this immunoregulatory molecule and increasing susceptibility to infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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