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Antibodies for better or worse or Antibody variability in an egg-laying mammal and a novel strategy in the treatment of allergies

by Johansson, Jeannette

Abstract (Summary)
Antibodies are a central part of the immune defense system, and a large variability in their specificity is needed in order to be able to react against all possible foreign substances we may encounter during our lives. In this thesis, results are presented from investigations into how an egg-laying mammal, the Australian duck-billed platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) creates antibody variability. Our results show that despite the lack of many V gene families the antibody repertoire in the platypus seems to be well developed. A long and highly variable complementarity-determining region (CDR) 3 compensates for the limited germline diversity. Interestingly, the presence of additional cysteine residues in the CDRs may form stabilizing disulfide bridges in the antigen binding loops and thereby increasing the affinity of the antibody-antigen interaction. Although the immune system is necessary for survival, it must be strictly controlled since it may otherwise over-react and cause more harm than benefits. Allergies and autoimmune diseases are examples of such over-reactions by the immune system. Allergies are increasing in the western world and have become one of the main medical issues of the 21st century. IgE is the central mediator in atopic allergies such as hay fever, eczema and asthma; it is therefore a prime target in the development of allergen-independent preventative treatments. Here we present results from several studies of a novel vaccine strategy aimed at reducing the levels of IgE antibodies. The vaccine results in the induction of anti-IgE antibodies, and the skin reactivity upon allergen challenge was significantly reduced in vaccinated animals. Our results suggest that active immunization against IgE has the potential to become a therapeutic method for humans. In addition, an evaluation of possible adjuvants that could be used as immune stimulators and thus help break self-tolerance at the time of vaccination is presented.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Uppsala universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Biology; Cell and molecular biology; Cell and molecular biology; Antibody; variability; platypus; allergy; vaccine; adjuvant; Cell- och molekylärbiologi; Molecular Immunology; molekylär immunologi

ISBN:91-554-5377-5

Date of Publication:01/01/2002

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