A Search for the Masked Mechanism Behind IgG-Mediated Suppression of Antibody Responses
Sammanfattning: Antibodies passively administered together with their specific antigen can enhance or suppress the specific antibody response. This phenomenon is known as antibody feedback regulation. Whether this modulation causes up- or downregulation of the antibody response depends both on the antibody isotype and the antigen used. IgG antibodies passively administered together with particulate antigens, e.g. erythrocytes, can completely prevent the induction of an antibody response to the antigen. The suppressive capacity of IgG has been routinely used in the clinic since the 1960’s in RhD-prophylaxis to prevent hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn. Although studied for decades, the underlying mechanism of IgG-suppression has remained elusive. The main focus of this thesis has been to elucidate the mechanism behind IgG-suppression of antibody responses in vivo in mouse models using intravenous immunization with specific IgG together with native or haptenated sheep red blood cells, SRBC. We show that IgG-suppression of IgM and long-term serum IgG-responses operates independently of activating FcγRI, III, IV, or the inhibitory FcγRIIB, thus confirming and extending previous findings. Moreover, we demonstrate for the first time that C1q, C3 and CR1/2 are dispensable for IgG-suppression of antibody responses. These findings strongly argue against the involvement of Fc-dependent mechanisms as the explanation for IgG-suppression. Interestingly, GC formation occurs in IgG-suppressed mice although the antibody response to surface SRBC epitopes are completely suppressed. The data suggests that these GCs develop in response to intracellular SRBC epitopes as well as to the passively administered suppressive IgG. Moreover, we demonstrate that passively administered IgG suppresses several parameters of an antibody/B cell response including antigen specific GC and non-GC B cells, extra-follicular antibody secreting cells, long-lived plasma cells and induction of immunological memory. Before the onset of the present study, two mechanisms appeared compatible with the majority of experimental findings: IgG-mediated antigen clearance and epitope masking. Herein we show that the contribution of IgG-mediated antigen clearance is negligible and that suppression of IgG-responses is strictly epitope specific. This provides compelling evidence that a very important mechanism underlying IgG-suppression is epitope masking.
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