The human body is one of the most sophisticated machinery in the world. It consists of numerous interdependent systems performing various tasks. One of such systems is the immunity system that defends the body against microbial attacks. It produces different cells that eradicate the infectious agent with their actions. Read about Things To Know About Antibodies below.
The human immunity system is one of the most efficient systems of the body. The immune cells produce antibodies that identify and attack the disease-causing foreign substances. After that, they retain the memory of this attack to mount a quick and accurate response against the next episode. Despite all this, they are not sufficient to protect the body from all invasions. A recent Covid-19 pandemic is a perfect example of why the human body needs external help to survive in this world.
At such times, medical science comes to aid. Fortunately, we have the technology to develop antibodies artificially. These synthetic antibodies resemble their natural counterparts in many ways. Besides, they play a crucial role in diagnostics and treatment for various disorders. Here are ten exciting things to know about antibodies.
- Natural Vs. Artificial Antibodies
First of all, both types of antibodies protect the human body against foreign invasion. However, they have several differences between them. The first difference is their source.
The human body produces different types of cells, one of them are B-cells. This is a type of immune cell primarily responsible for the production of natural antibodies.
This type of antibody originates outside the human body via processes like protein synthesis. Scientists specifically design them to work against particular viruses or infections, so such antibodies are also known as custom antibodies.
- Functions of Antibodies
Whether synthetic or natural, antibodies perform the following three functions in the human body,
- They neutralize foreign substances like viruses, bacteria, etc., by identifying and binding to their surfaces.
- They activate other immune responses such as the complement system for further destruction of the bacterial cell wall. The molecules of the complement system form holes in the bacterial walls, which lead to their death.
- They enhance the efficiency of phagocytosis. It is a process through which phagocytic cells of the human body engulf and kill foreign cells in the human body.
3. Types of Antibodies
The first system classifies antibodies based on their structure. This system only included natural antibodies. According to this system, natural antibodies are of five types: IgG, IgM, IgA, IgD, and IgE. Among them, IgG is one responsible for eradicating and neutralizing infections. That is why it is prevalently present in the serum.
Unlike the first system, the second system considers the binding capacities of the antibodies. So, it is also helpful in classifying artificial antibodies. According to this system, antibodies belong to two broad categories, i.e., polyclonal antibodies and monoclonal antibodies.
Multiple B cell lineage synthesis antibodies to react against a specific antigen. Polyclonal antibodies are a group of molecules possessing multiple epitomes.
A single B cell lineage synthesizes these types of antibodies against a specific antigen.
4. Productions of Antibodies
In the body, B-Cells produce different types of antibodies as a response to foreign invasion. However, custom antibodies are a product of complex processes. Here are their types and production procedures:
Scientists inject specific molecules into a test animal. This molecule acts like an immunogen, eliciting an immune response in the form of antibody production. Then, the animal receives a secondary or even tertiary dose to amply the antibody synthesis. Later, scientists obtain the serum to get purified polyclonal antibodies.
Scientists produce monoclonal antibodies (mAb) by using the tissue culture technique. The process begins with the production of hybridomas (antibody-producing cells). Later, they fuse them with myeloma cells to obtain desired antibody-producing B-cells. Later, scientists screen and select the specific cells based on their specificity for a particular pathogen.
5. Structure of Antibodies
Antibodies are proteins consisting of chains of amino acids. Different types of antibodies have different shapes. However, Y is an overall shape among antibodies as IgG, IgD, and IgA are roughly shaped like Y. The smaller branches of Y bind to the surface of foreign substances. The binding units are also called variable domains. This is because the amino acid composition at binding tips targets specific molecules present on the surface of foreign substances.
6. Binding to the Antigens
Antigen means any foreign substance. Antibodies are particular to the antigens. Complementarity explains their binding to each other. Antigen surfaces that trigger immune responses have specific shapes. Antibodies complementary to these shapes bind to the antigen and elicit an immune response. In simple words, it works like a lock and key.
7. Antibodies and Passive Immunity
Humans have two types of immunities, i.e., active and passive. Active immune responses are when the body itself mounts a response against invasion. In contrast, a passive immune response happens when the body mounts an immune response with external help. The best example of passive immunity is the vaccine.
8. Antibodies and Diagnosis
Artificial antibodies are not just for vaccines. They play a vital role in diagnostics. Medical practitioners use kits to detect infections. These assays function on antigen-antibody reactions. For example, the ELISA test detects the antibody produced by the body against HIV Virus. Furthermore, antibodies help analyze the antibody profile of patients.
9. Antibodies and Therapy
Artificial antibodies play a crucial role in the treatment of hypogammaglobulinemia, deficiency of IgG. Medical practitioners inject synthetic antibodies to enhance their passive immunity.
Moreover, monoclonal antibodies have a significant role in therapeutics. Professionals use these antibodies to treat disorders like psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
10. Other Applications of Antibodies
Scientists use artificial antibodies to conduct various experiments. Antibodies are valuable for scientific research. They play a crucial role in processes like flow cytometry, immunoprecipitation assays, etc.