Basic components of the immune system part 105

Immune 1


Antibodies to common microbial antigens have been used to detect infection with different  microbes for years. However, the presence of a single antibody  serum specimen only tells you that the person was exposed to this microbe in the past. To diagnose an acute infection, one must have paired sera usually taken two weeks apart that demonstrate a significant rise in antibody titers in the second specimen compared to the first. One can also do these antibody tests in reverse. Normally, we are exposed to many microbial antigens  during growth and development either as a result of exposure to a given  microbe or after immunization with a given antigen (ie tetanus toxoid, pneumococcus polysaccharide, measles, or mumps viral antigen). Antibodies to the microbial products are usually found in normal individuals, but if they are not, one should suspect abnormalities of antibody production like those seen in immunodeficiency.

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