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Recent rubella virus infection indicated by a low avidity of specific IgG


Rubella-specific IgG in acute-phase sera produces a characteristically altered zone termed “soft hemolysis” in the radial hemolysis test. Here, the soft hemolysis was shown to be a product of the purified IgG1 subclass isolated from acute-phase sera. In contrast, ordinary hemolysis was produced by IgG1 isolated from sera of previous rubella immunity, indicating that the subclass composition of IgG was not involved in the mechanism of soft hemolysis. A novel type of solid-phase immunoassay was developed for the avidity of virus-specific IgG. Acute-phase IgG (with soft hemolysis) was dissociated from rubella antigen in an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) test by hydrogen-bond disrupting agents under conditions where IgG of previous immunity (showing ordinary hemolysis) remained mostly bound. These data suggest that the mechanism of soft hemolysis is the avidity of rubella-specific IgG. The new quantitative avidity EIA was tested with sera taken from 169 subjects. Recent infection could be shown from sera taken weeks or months after primary rubella.

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Hedman, K., Seppälä, I. Recent rubella virus infection indicated by a low avidity of specific IgG. J Clin Immunol 8, 214–221 (1988).

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Key words

  • Antibody affinity
  • enzyme immunoassay
  • immunoglobulin G subclasses
  • rubella virus
  • virus serology