Multi-Faceted Role of Naturally Occurring Autoantibodies in Fighting Pathogens

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Naturally occurring antibodies (NAbs) play a vital role in the first line of defense against bacterial and viral infections. Most studies in mice and man have attributed this role to NAbs of the IgM isotype. However, there is also a significant amount of data on the anti-infectious function of NAbs of the IgG isotype. Most of these observations are derived from studies using a privileged source of NAbs, the pooled human IgG for intravenous application, IVIG. In addition to its use as a replacement in humoral immunodeficiencies, IVIG is extensively used in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The properties of NAbs, the principal components of IVIG, are considered crucial for their immune-regulatory properties, owing to their ability to recognize self-antigens and even autoantibodies. By virtue of these specificities for several cellular antigens, including exposed proteins that act as receptors for a variety of pathogens, certain NAbs in IVIG have a therapeutic role in preventing or modulating infections. We summarize in this chapter several examples that highlight the importance of NAbs in the control of certain bacterial and viral infections.