Baumgarten, Alexander Department of Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Last reviewed:April 2020
- Antibody-antigen specificity
- Nature of immune complex
- Factors affecting reaction
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A reaction that occurs when an antigen combines with a corresponding antibody to produce an immune complex. A substance that induces the immune system to form a corresponding antibody is called an immunogen. All immunogens are also antigens because they react with corresponding antibodies (see illustration); however, an antigen may not be able to induce the formation of an antibody and therefore may not be an immunogen. For instance, lipids and all low-molecular-weight substances are not immunogenic. However, many such substances, termed haptens, can be attached to immunogens, called carriers, and the complex then acts as a new immunogen capable of eliciting antibody to the attached hapten. See also: Antibody; Antigen; Immunology
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