Characterization of anti-Fab' antibodies in human sera: identification of soluble immune complexes that contain hidden anti-KLH and blocking anti-immunoglobulins following immunization with keyhole limpet haemocyanin

Clin Exp Immunol. 1983 Aug;53(2):497-504.


After immunization with keyhole limpet haemocyanin (KLH), increased concentrations of anti-KLH and anti-Fab' antibodies (Abs) were demonstrated in sera from 18 of 20 volunteers. In many cases, post-immunization sera contained soluble immune complexes that incorporated both anti-Fab' and 'hidden' or 'blocked' anti-KLH antibodies. The complexes containing hidden anti-KLH and blocking anti-Fab' Abs were not found in pre-immunization sera. The hidden Abs to KLH were revealed by demonstrating increases in anti-KLH activity in sera incubated previously with Fab' fragments, immobilized on plastic microtitre tray wells. Incubation with insoluble Fab' did not influence the quantity of anti-tetanus toxoid (TT) that was detected in these sera. Addition of affinity purified anti-Fab' Abs to samples, previously 'unblocked' by adsorption with immobilized Fab', depressed their anti-KLH activity to levels present before adsorption, but did not change the quantity of Abs to Dermatophytin, Trychophyton, or TT therein. These results suggest that some autoantibodies generically recognized as 'Fab' specific' have properties that are usually considered to be characteristic of autoanti-idiotypes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / isolation & purification*
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / isolation & purification*
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Hemocyanins / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mollusca
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments
  • Hemocyanins