Interactions between precipitating and nonprecipitating antibodies in the formation of immune complexes

F. G. Cosio, D. J. Birmingham, D. J. Sexton, L. A. Hebert

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17 Scopus citations


In the present study, we used monoclonal antidinitrophenol (DNP) antibodies to determine certain of the biophysical characteristics of precipitating and nonprecipitating antibodies. In addition, we studied the dynamics of immune complex (IC) formation when precipitating antibodies react with antigen in the presence of nonprecipitating antibodies. The antigen utilized in these studies was DNP-bovine serum albumin. All isolated nonprecipitating anti-DNP antibodies were of the IgG2b isotype, whereas all antibodies with other isotypes (IgG1, IgG3, IgM, IgA and IgE) were precipitating. Nonprecipitating antibodies did not differ significantly from precipitating antibodies in affinity, valence, or isoelectric point. Nonprecipitating antibodies inhibited the formation of precipitable IC between antigen and precipitating antibodies. In addition, preformed IC precipitates were solubilized by non-precipitating antibodies. The solubilization of IC precipitates was influenced by the isotype of the precipitating antibody and by the antibody:antigen ratio in the IC precipitate. By isokinetic sucrose density centrifugation, we determined that solubilization of IC precipitates by nonprecipitating antibodies was associated with release of free precipitating antibody and formation of soluble IC between the antigen and the nonprecipitating antibody. In conclusion, in this study the nonprecipitating property of mouse anti-DNP antibodies is isotype-specific. Nonprecipitating antibodies compete and displace precipitating antibodies from the antigen, resulting in inhibition of IC precipitation and in IC solubilization. On the basis of the present results, we postulate that antibody-antibody interactions are important determinants of precipitating ability, and that these interactions are a characteristic of antibody isotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2587-2592
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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