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1.  Stimulate immune response


2.  React specifically with:

  1. Effector molecules (Antibodies)
  2. Effector cells (Lymphocytes)

3.  Proteins/ Carbohydrates/ Lipids/ Nucleic acid


4.  Antigenic determinant/ Epitopes bind to paratope on the antibody/ T-cell receptors


5.  Incomplete antigen/ Hapten:

  1. Low, molecular weight
  2. Cannot induce immune response
  3. Single epitope
  4. Carrier molecular required

6.  Immunogenicity, ability to stimulate immune response


7.  Determinants of antigenicity

  1. Size
  2. Foreignness
  3. Chemical nature (proteins and polysaccharides )
  4. Susceptibility to tissue enzymes.

8.   Antigen specificity

  1. Varies with position of antigen determinant
  2. Not absolute: Cross reactions

9.  Species Specificity

  1. Iso-specificity
  2.  Found in some but not all members of a species
  3. A, B, AB, O Blood groups

b.  Histocompatibility antigens

  1. Present on the cells of each individual of species
  2. Graft rejection
  3. MHC proteins encoded on short arm of chromosome 6 (6p)

c.  Auto specificity

  1. Normally non-antigenic
  2. Hidden/sequestered antigens
  3. Lens protein/ spermatozoa

d.  Organ specificity some organs (brain, kidney, lens protein) of different species share same antigen

  1. Neuroparalytic complication following anti-rabies vaccine

e.  Heterogenetic (heterophile) specificity

  1. Closely related antigens occurring in different biological species/classes/kingdoms
  2. Forssman antigen
  3. Serological tests based on heterophile antigens: Well-felix reaction, Paul Bunnell test, cold agglutinin test, agglutination of streptococcus MG.

10.    Tolerogens

An antigen that induces tolerance

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