Comparison of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies directed against immunoglobulin light and heavy chains in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Am J Clin Pathol. 1986 Jan;85(1):25-31. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/85.1.25.


A study comparing the usage of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies specific for immunoglobulin light and heavy chains was performed on frozen-tissue sections of 30 B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. In 16 cases, monotypic staining for an immunoglobulin light chain was demonstrated with monoclonal antibodies using a three-step avidin-biotin peroxidase complex (ABC) method; 13 cases were positive for kappa. In 14 cases, no immunoglobulin light-chain production was demonstrated. Repeat staining of 11 of these 14 cases with polyclonal anti-sera by a direct immunoperoxidase method demonstrated monotypic staining for light chain in 10 cases, 9 of which were positive for lambda. In 22 of 30 non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, an immunoglobulin heavy chain was identified using monoclonal anti-sera. In eight cases, however, no heavy chain was found. Repeated staining with polyclonal sera of additional sections in three of eight cases demonstrated heavy-chain production in each case. Decreased sensitivity, especially for the detection of the lambda light chain, rendered this particular lot of monoclonal antibodies unsuitable for immunophenotyping non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Variability of antigenic sites on the immunoglobulin molecule seems a likely explanation for these observations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains / analysis*
  • Lymphoma / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains