The chicken egg as a supply of polyclonal antibodies

Gassmann, M.; Weiser, T.; Thommes, P.; Hubscher, U.

Schweizer Archiv für Tierheilkunde 132(6): 289-294


ISSN/ISBN: 0036-7281
PMID: 2205000
Document Number: 366609
Polyclonal antibodies can be isolated not only from the blood of immunized mammals but also from the egg yolk of immunized chickens. The advantages of this alternative method are: 1) Birds produce antibodies against highly conserved mammalian proteins. 2) The quantity of antigen needed for an efficient immune response is very low (20-30 micrograms). 3) The use of complete Freund's adjuvant leads to long lasting titers of yolk antibodies yielding a total amount of 65 mg specific antibodies per month. 4) The purification of antibodies is simple, inexpensive and quick. Polyethylene glycol precipitation is sufficient to obtain a purity of more than 90%. 5) Chicken antibodies are acid- and heat-resistant and might therefore be orally applied to prevent or to cure infectious intestinal diseases of young animals or humans. 6) Immunization with complete Freund's adjuvant is well tolerated and produces no inflammatory reactions and 7) collecting eggs is, in contrast to bleeding animals, non-invasive. In this review we present both, the method how to produce and to isolate yolk antibodies as well as their possible application in science, diagnosis, prophylaxis and therapy.

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