The natural autoantibody repertoire in newborns and adults a current overview

Asaf Madi, Sharron Bransburg-Zabary, Dror Y. Kenett, Eshel Ben-Jacob*, Irun R. Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Antibody networks have been studied in the past based on the connectivity between idiotypes and anti-idiotypesantibodies that bind one another. Here we call attention to a different network of antibodies, antibodies connected by their reactivities to sets of antigensthe antigen-reactivity network. The recent development of antigen microarray chip technology for detecting global patterns of antibody reactivities makes it possible to study the immune system quantitatively using network analysis tools. Here, we review the analyses of IgM and IgG autoantibody reactivities of sera of mothers and their offspring (umbilical cords) to 300 defined self-antigens; the autoantibody reactivities present in cord blood represent the natural autoimmune repertories with which healthy humans begin life and the mothers' reactivities reflect the development of the repertoires in healthy young adults. Comparing the cord and maternal reactivities using several analytic tools led to the following conclusions: (1) The IgG repertoires showed a high correlation between each mother and her newborn; the IgM repertoires of all the cords were very similar and each cord differed from its mother's IgM repertoire. Thus, different humans are born with very similar IgM autoantibodies produced in utero and with unique IgG autoantibodies found in their individual mothers. (2) Autoantibody repertoires appear to be structured into sets of reactivities that are organized into cliquesreactivities to particular antigens are correlated. (3) Autoantibody repertoires are organized as networks of reactivities in which certain key antigen reactivities dominate the networkthe dominant antigen reactivities manifest a causal relationship to sets of other correlated reactivities. Thus, repertoires of autoantibodies in healthy subjects, the immunological homunculus, are structured in hierarchies of antigen reactivities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNaturally Occurring Antibodies (NAbs)
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781461434603
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598


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