Human immunoglobulin allotypes: possible implications for immunogenicity

MAbs. 2009 Jul-Aug;1(4):332-8. doi: 10.4161/mabs.1.4.9122.


More than twenty recombinant monoclonal antibodies are approved as therapeutics. Almost all of these are based on the whole IgG isotype format, but vary in the origin of the variable regions between mouse (chimeric), humanized mouse and fully human sequences; all of those with whole IgG format employ human constant region sequences. Currently, the opposing merits of the four IgG subclasses are considered with respect to the in vivo biological activities considered to be appropriate to the disease indication being treated. Human heavy chain genes also exhibit extensive structural polymorphism(s) and, being closely linked, are inherited as a haplotype. Polymorphisms (allotypes) within the IgG isotype were originally discovered and described using serological reagents derived from humans; demonstrating that allotypic variants can be immunogenic and provoke antibody responses as a result of allo-immunization. The serologically defined allotypes differ widely within and between population groups; therefore, a mAb of a given allotype will, inevitably, be delivered to a cohort of patients homozygous for the alternative allotype. This publication reviews the serologically defined human IgG allotypes and considers the potential for allotype differences to contribute to or potentiate immunogenicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Communicable Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunogenetic Phenomena*
  • Immunoglobulin Allotypes* / classification
  • Immunoglobulin Allotypes* / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / therapeutic use
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains / therapeutic use
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunoglobulin Allotypes
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains
  • Recombinant Proteins