Table of Contents
ISRN Immunology
Volume 2014, Article ID 524081, 13 pages
Review Article

Molecular and Cellular Pathways of Immunoglobulin G Activity In Vivo

Institute of Genetics, Department of Biology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erwin-Rommelstr. 3, 91058 Erlangen, Germany

Received 4 December 2013; Accepted 20 January 2014; Published 5 March 2014

Academic Editors: A. Bensussan and R. Merino

Copyright © 2014 Falk Nimmerjahn. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In retrospect, the therapeutic potential of immunoglobulins was first demonstrated by von Behring and Kitasato in the late nineteenth century by protecting mice from the lethal effects caused by tetanus and diphtheria toxin via injection of a hyperimmune serum generated in rabbits. Even today, hyperimmune sera generated from human donors with high serum titers against a certain pathogen are still in use as a means of providing passive protection. More importantly, therapeutic antibodies specific for malignant or autoreactive cells have become included in the standard of care in diseases such as breast cancer and malignant lymphoma. Despite this clinical success, we are only at the beginning of understanding the precise molecular and cellular pathways responsible for immunoglobulin G (IgG) activity in vivo. Since then, an enormous amount of information about the mechanism of IgG activity has been obtained in various model systems. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of our current understanding of how IgG antibodies mediate their activity in vivo and how we can use this knowledge to enhance the activity of therapeutic antibodies or block the proinflammatory and tissue pathology inducing activity of autoantibodies.