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In Defense of SelfHow the Immune System Really Works$
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William R. Clark

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336634

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336634.001.0001

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How Do Antibodies Work?

How Do Antibodies Work?

(p.33) 3 How Do Antibodies Work?
In Defense of Self

William R. Clark

Oxford University Press

This chapter delves further into how antibodies actually function in eliminating foreign materials from bodily fluids. Antibodies by themselves are relatively ineffective in eliminating foreign matter. They act mainly as “tags”, labeling microbial cells, viruses, and foreign proteins for engulfment by scavenger cells called macrophages. When bound to a cell surface, antibodies can also serve as anchor points for serum proteins refered to collectively as complement, which insert pores into cells, killing them through osmotic lysis.

Keywords:   antibody function, macrophages, complement, agglutination, osmotic lysis

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