IgY: a promising antibody for use in immunodiagnostic and in immunotherapy

Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2010 Jun 15;135(3-4):173-80. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2009.12.011. Epub 2010 Jan 7.


Immunoglobulin IgY is the major antibody produced by chickens (Gallus domesticus). After their V-C gene is rearranged in B cells, IgY is continually synthesized, excreted into the blood and transferred to the egg yolk, where it is accumulated. IgY is produced by hens to provide their offspring with an effective humoral immunity against the commonest avian pathogens until full maturation of their own immune system. In this review we aim to give an overview about the generation, structure, properties of IgY, as well as the advantages of chicken antibodies use over mammalian antibodies in immunodiagnostics and immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Diversity
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chickens / genetics
  • Chickens / immunology*
  • Female
  • Gene Rearrangement, B-Lymphocyte
  • Immunization, Passive
  • Immunoglobulins / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulins / genetics
  • Immunoglobulins / therapeutic use*
  • Immunologic Tests / veterinary
  • Immunotherapy / veterinary


  • IgY
  • Immunoglobulins