Modulation of autoimmune responses by intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg)

Mult Scler. 1997 Apr;3(2):121-8. doi: 10.1177/135245859700300211.


Significant progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms by which intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIg) exert immunomodulatory effects in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. A unique property of immunoglobulins is the diversity of variable (V) regions. The evidence discussed in this communication supports our notion that the diversity of V regions in IVIg preparations is a determining factor for the anti-inflammatory substitutive and immunomodulatory functions of IVIg therapy. We have demonstrated the presence in IVIg, of anti-idiotypic antibodies directed against various autoantibodies. The ability of IVIg to interact through V regions with complementary V regions of antibodies and antigen receptors as well as with relevant soluble and surface molecules provides the basis for inducing the selection of immune repertoires. The study of the mechanisms by which IVIg mediates selection of autoreactive repertoires is essential for our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the emergence of pathological autoimmunity and of the physiological role of natural antibodies in the establishment and maintenance of tolerance to self and homeostasis of autoreactivity in healthy individuals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Autoimmunity*
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / pharmacology
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammation
  • Receptors, Cytokine / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Fc / biosynthesis


  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Autoantibodies
  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Receptors, Fc
  • Complement System Proteins