|MadSci Network: Immunology|
Preecha - After doing a bit of hunting around and after asking others, the answer seems to be that immunoglobulins and antibodies are interchangable terms. In my mind, I think of immunoglobulins as the major class of proteins that antibodies belong to based on their overall protein structure. Definitions that encompass the above are as follows: IMMUNOGLOBULIN: large class of glycoproteins that constitute the antibodies produced in response to antigenic stimuli. ANTIBODIES: Immunoglobulin multichain glycoproteins synthesized by B-cells and plasma cells (memory cells) in response to the introduction of foreign substances. In addition, remember that there are different immunoglobulin (Ig) classes (IgA, IgG, IgM, IgE, and IgD) that will produce different antibodies, each with specialized functions (due in part to structure) and specificity for an antigen. I couldn't find any answer that definitively stated any major differences between the two. You could think of an antibody being generated against a given antigen during a vaccination (i.e. diptheria toxoid). The antibody produced by the B cells (and memory cells over time) will specifically recognize diptheria toxin; in addition, the antibody produced by B cells will belong to the IgG class (in general). One could also think of immunoglobulins in a generic sense - where many different antibodies produced by B-cells make up a population of an immunoglobulin class, for example, IgG, that is present at any one time in the body. REFERENCES: Roitt et al. Immunology, 5th ed. 1998. Ryan et al. Sherris Medical Microbiology, 3rd ed. 1994 Sorry that I don't really have a specific answer, but I do hope that what I did provide will be useful! Best of luck! Glynis Rutgers University
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