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Antibody deficiencies

Related Terms

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Background

  • Antibody deficiencies, also called immunoglobulin deficiency syndromes, are immune system disorders that are characterized by low or absent levels of immunoglobulin in the blood. Immunoglobulins (Ig) are antibodies that play an essential role in the body's immune system. They detect and bind to foreign substances (like bacteria, viruses, fungi, or allergens) that enter the body. This signals other immune cells to destroy the foreign substance. The antibodies are present in the bloodstream or bound to the outer surfaces of B-cells or plasma cells.
  • There are five classes of immunoglobulins: IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM. Patients who have antibody deficiencies may have reduced or absent levels of one or more types of immunoglobulin. In most cases, the cause of antibody deficiency is unknown, although some disorders may be genetic (passed down from parent to child).
  • Immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies are primarily found in the nose, airway passages, digestive tract, ears, eyes, saliva, tears, and vagina. These antibodies protect body surfaces that are frequently exposed to foreign organisms and substances from outside of the body. The IgA antibodies make up about 10-15% of the antibodies found in the body.
  • IgG antibodies are the smallest but most abundant antibodies in the body, making up 75-80% of all the antibodies in the body. They are present in all body fluids. The IgG antibodies are considered the most important antibodies for fighting against bacterial and viral infections. They are the only antibodies that can cross the placenta. Therefore, the IgG antibodies of a pregnant woman help protect her fetus. IgG isotypes are associated with complement fixation (immune response in which an antigen-antibody combination deactivates a complement), opsonization (process by which antigens are altered so that they are more readily and more efficiently engulfed and destroyed by immune cells), fixation to macrophages, and membrane transport.
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Types of the Disease

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.