Fc Receptors pp 201-219 | Cite as

Antibodies as Natural Adjuvants

  • Birgitta Heyman
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 382)


Antibodies in complex with specific antigen can dramatically change the antibody response to this antigen. Depending on antibody class and type of antigen, >99 % suppression or >100-fold enhancement of the response can take place. IgM and IgG3 are efficient enhancers and operate via the complement system. In contrast, IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG2b enhance antibody and CD4+ T cell responses to protein antigens via activating Fcγ-receptors. IgE also enhances antibody and CD4+ T cell responses to small proteins but uses the low-affinity receptor for IgE, CD23. Most likely, IgM and IgG3 work by increasing the effective concentration of antigen on follicular dendritic cells in splenic follicles. IgG1, IgG2a, IgG2b, and IgE probably enhance antibody responses by increasing antigen presentation by dendritic cells to T helper cells. IgG antibodies of all subclasses have a dual effect, and suppress antibody responses to particulate antigens such as erythrocytes. This capacity is used in the clinic to prevent immunization of Rhesus-negative women to Rhesus-positive fetal erythrocytes acquired via transplacental hemorrage. IgG-mediated suppression in mouse models can take place in the absence of Fcγ-receptors and complement and to date no knock-out mouse strain has been found where suppression is abrogated.


Antibody Response Complement Activation Germinal Center Primary Antibody Response Fetal Erythrocyte 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I wish to thank all past and present members of my laboratory, who have shared my interest in revealing how antibodies feedback-regulate the production of themselves. The work has been supported by Uppsala University, the Swedish Research Council, Ellen, Walter and Lennart Hesselman’s Foundation, Hans von Kantzow’s Foundation, King Gustaf V:s 80 Years Foundation, Ollie and Elof Ericsson’s Foundation, and Agnes and Mac Rudberg’s Foundation.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Biochemistry and MicrobiologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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