Antiviral antibody responses: the two extremes of a wide spectrum

Nat Rev Immunol. 2006 Mar;6(3):231-43. doi: 10.1038/nri1783.


Viruses elicit a diverse spectrum of antiviral antibody responses. In this review, we discuss two widely used experimental model systems for viral infections - non-cytopathic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and acutely cytopathic vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) - to analyse two fundamentally different types of antiviral antibody response. The basic principles found in these model infections are discussed in the context of other viral infections, and with regard to protective neutralizing versus non-protective enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-detected antibody responses. Issues of antibody specificity, affinity and avidity, maturation and escape are discussed in the context of co-evolution of the host and viruses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Class Switching
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Somatic Hypermutation, Immunoglobulin
  • Virus Diseases / immunology


  • Antibodies, Viral