Understanding the immune system functionality, innate immunity (natural antibodies), development of autoimmune reactions and immune responses during and post-vaccination all involve the analysis of anti-glycan antibodies. The complexity of glycans and their corresponding antibodies found in human serum has made it very difficult to differentiate whether these anti-glycan antibodies are inherent (natural) or a triggered immune response.
It is well documented that newborns are born with the maternal immune system because IgG antibodies can cross the placenta; however, maternal IgM antibodies cannot. The authors used glycan microarrays to profile newborn cord blood samples and maternal samples. As a result, the authors were able to demonstrate cord blood is often contaminated with maternal blood, they developed an assay for detecting with high sensitivity the maternal antibodies, and that there is a diverse assortment of anti-glycan IgM at birth These findings indicate that many of these anti-glycan antibodies are naturally occurring.
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