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IgG antibodies--wht does it really mean?

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IgG antibodies--wht does it really mean?

Postby hiker53 » Fri 23 Jan 2009 1:20

I am not sure I totally understand IgG antibodies. I know IgM means recent active infection, but what exactly does IgG mean. Does it mean that you once had the infection such as EBV, and are making antibodies but do not have the symptoms or does it mean you are making antibodies and do have the symptoms--in other words it is a chronic infection? Thanks. Hiker53
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Re: IgG antibodies--wht does it really mean?

Postby Joe Ham » Fri 23 Jan 2009 3:43

Hiker,
You have a handle on the basics about right, I just say it a little differently.

IgM is usually taken to indicate response to antigens by the innate arm of the immune system. The shock troops of the immune system which can be rather non-discriminate and therefore rather harsh and ramps down rather quickly so as not to do too much damage.

In a properly working immune system the IgM response is replaced by the more targeted and less destructive adaptive arm, the IgG response. Sometimes called the memory part of the system it supposedly is responsible for rapid response to pathogens that the system has seen before -- for example to vaccination or a disease that you have "got over" so if it comes around again your system responds quickly because it already has the "template" of that germ.

If you catch the implication it means that a WB for IgG is only of value if done before abx is started. Once you are exposed to a bacterium or virus and get over it the IgG response, although it is still there, is in more of a lurking mode and causes no symptoms. It cannot prove current infection nor can the absence of IgG prove cure because some people ramp down to a level that may be below the detection level. Igenex has a graphic illustration of the process:
http://www.igenex.com/timea.htm

EBV, Epstein Barr Virus, (mononucleosis) is just that, a virus, so abx will have no effect on it. Your immune system will suppress the symptoms (disease) but current thinking is that people will carry it for life with apparently little or no ill effects as long as the immune system remains competent.

That was a very oversimplified explanation. Wikipedia has a page on EBV:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epstein_Barr_virus

And the workings of the very complicated immune system fills volumes.

And you need to be able to make the distinction between chronic infection vs chronic disease. That, by the way, is the issue that is at the root of the Lyme Wars and is an issue that is not about to go away anytime soon.
Joe Ham
 
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Re: IgG antibodies--wht does it really mean?

Postby hiker53 » Sat 24 Jan 2009 0:34

Thanks, Joe.

So, if I have IgG to bartonella, but not IgM, do I get treated for bart or let treatment go? I am not sure if the symptoms I have are lyme that is not fixed or if some could be bart. In 2005 I tested negative to bart at Igenex, but in 2008 I tested IgG positive 1:64 titer to bart with Fry labs, but no IgM to bart. Hiker53
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Re: IgG antibodies--wht does it really mean?

Postby Joe Ham » Sat 24 Jan 2009 19:15

Did you ever take Doxy for Lyme? It has activity against Bart also. I chose Doxy in my early days just for that reason. I was not tested for it thanks to Quacky Dan but I did it anyway just to try to cover the bases. A recent test from Igenex showed a low titer for Bart (IgG, not IgM) but I have none of the distinct symptoms for Bart so I don't treat for it. The test was done after a one month holiday from abx for Babs.

In 2005 I tested negative to bart at Igenex, but in 2008 I tested IgG positive 1:64 titer to bart with Fry labs, but no IgM to bart.


Your tests are so separated in time that it is impossible to draw any conclusions from the different results.

I have to admit to a prejudice against Fry Labs just because it is so hyped on LNusa by posters of demonstrated lack of good judgment. However, Fry may be an adequate lab. One way to get some evidence (albeit n=1) would be to send blood to both labs from the same blood draw. That's called a pooled sample and it is nothing more than sending half of a blood draw to each lab.

Maybe you could do that and post the results here.
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