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Antibodies. B cells

Antibodies. B cells

Antibodies are molecules of glycoprotein nature that have ability to bind antigens either soluble or bound in membranes of cells in a specific way. They are present in plasma and in tissue fluids (lymph, saliva, tears etc.). As most of antibodies belong to the gamma globulins of plasma proteins, they were previously known under the term gammaglobulins; their contemporary nomenclature is immunoglobulins (Ig). There are five classes of immunoglobulins: IgG, IgM, IgA, IgE, and IgE, respectively. They have specific biochemical structure and function. The principal biological role is to bind antigens; except it, they can activate the complement, opsonise bacteria, bind to receptors of various cell of the immune system etc.

Antibodies are produced by B lymphocytes and especially by plasma cells. B cells are born in the marrow and settle secondary lymphoid organs, where they occupy lymphoid follicles. They comprise 15% of all peripheral blood lymphocytes and are characterised by their specific antigen receptors and co-receptors. B cells not recognising antigens are naïve, those responding to them as effector cells; some of them differentiate to memory cells, which are long-term living. B cells are not unique population, three distinct subsets are known.

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Keywords: Antibodies, immunoglobulins, B cells, plasma cells

author: Milan Buc | organization: Institute of Immunology | published on: 27.2.2012 | last modified on: 16.3.2012
citation: Buc Milan: Antibodies. B cells. Multimedia support in the education of clinical and health care disciplines :: Portal of Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University [online] 2012-02-27, last modif. 2012-03-16 [cit. 2019-11-22] Available from WWW: <>. ISSN 1337-9577.

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