The Raji cell radioimmune assay for detecting immune complexes in human sera

J Clin Invest. 1976 Jan;57(1):169-82. doi: 10.1172/JCI108257.


A sensitivie and simple procedure for the detection and quantitation of soluble complement (C)- fixing immune complexes in sera of patients with various disease states has been developed by utilizing C receptors on Raji cells. These cells lack membrane-bound immunoglobulin but have receptors for IgG Fc, C3b, C3d, and possibly with other C proteins. Uptake experiments showed that both aggregated human gamma globulin (AHG) and 7S IgG bound to receptors for IgG Fc; however, AHG reacted with C bound to cells only via receptors for C and this binding was much more efficient than via IgG Fc receptors. AHG was used as an in vitro model of human immune complexes and its uptake by Raji cells was quantitated by 125I-radiolabeled antihuman IgG. The limit of sensitivity of this test was 6 mug AHG/ml serum. The ability of Raji cells to detect AHG in serum depended on the amount of radioactive antibody used and the size of aggregates. The presence of an excess of C somewhat inhibited binding of AHG containing C to Raji cells. The efficient binding of AHG by receptors for C on Raji cells was used for the detection and quantitation of immune complexes in human sera. Raji cells were incubated with sera to be tested and then reacted with excess radiolabeled antihuman IgG; the amount of radioactivity bound to the washed cells was determined and referred to a standard curve of radioactive antibody uptake by cells previously incubated with increasing amounts of AHG in serum. Thereby immune complexes were detected and quantitated in serum hepatitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, dengue hemorrhagic fever, and malignancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antigen-Antibody Complex*
  • Binding Sites, Antibody
  • Cell Line*
  • Complement C3 / analysis
  • Dengue / immunology
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune Complex Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Radioimmunoassay / methods*
  • Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis / immunology
  • Vascular Diseases / immunology


  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Complement C3
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments
  • Immunoglobulin G