Antibody

Definition

An antibody is a protein produced by the body's immune system when it detects harmful substances, called antigens. Examples of antigens include microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses) and chemicals.

Antibodies may be produced when the immune system mistakenly considers healthy tissue a harmful substance. This is called an autoimmune disorder.

Each type of antibody is unique and defends the body against one specific type of antigen.

References

Abbas AK, Litchman AH, Pillai S. Antibodies and antigens. In: Abbas AK, Litchman AH, Pillai S, eds. Cellular and Molecular Immunology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 5.

Male D, Brostoff J, Roth DB, Roitt IM. Antibodies. In: Male D, Brostoff J, Roth DB, Roitt IM, eds. Immunology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 3.


Review Date: 9/3/2016
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com