Antibody

Last Updated: June 20, 2018

Definition - What does Antibody mean?

An antibody, which is also known as immunoglobulin and abbreviated as lg, is a Y-shaped protein produced by a body's immune system in order to both to identify and neutralize harmful natural and foreign substances, called antigens. These can include substances such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses. In addition to the role they play in employee health, antibodies are also used in drug testing in order to detect drug use.

WorkplaceTesting explains Antibody

An antibody is a basic and vital part of the immune system. This protein works to make sure the body recognizes and fights any potentially harmful substance in the body.

While the basic structure of all antibodies is uniform from antibody to antibody, there is a small area at the apex of the protein that changes drastically. This part of the protein is known as hyper-variable region. The changes in that small area result in millions of different antibodies, each with different target substance.

Antibodies are found in blood and other bodily fluids. Antibodies are not permanent. Once produced by the body they circulate in the blood for months but eventually must be recreated by the body in response to a substance. This is the basis of vaccines, that immunity to certain external pathogens can be created for a period of time by encouraging the immune system to activate in response to a specific substance.

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