Immunoglobulin M (IGM)

Definition - What does Immunoglobulin M (IGM) mean?

Immunoglobulin M (IGM) is a protein located in the lymph fluid and blood. It comprises one of three major antibodies produced by plasma cells from the immune system that targets and destroys antigens. Immunoglobulin M is the first antibody to respond to pathogens caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses, and other infectious agents. Immunoglobulin M proteins have a short-lived function by building initial immunity against particular diseases. Immunoglobulin M antibodies are replaced later by permanent immunoglobulins that will recognize identical microbes, preventing or mitigating future episodes of infection.

WorkplaceTesting explains Immunoglobulin M (IGM)

Immunoglobulin M antibodies contribute significantly to the immune system’s capacity to resist diseases and infections present in the body. An excess or deficiency of immunoglobulins in general can have distinct compromising effects linked to a number of disorders. Two categories encompass immunoglobulin complications involving either duplication of a single immune cell (monoclonal) or proliferation of different immune cells (polyclonal).

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards require all employers to adopt infection control policies to avoid contamination and cross-contamination between its employees. Simple guidelines to limit or prevent the spread of pathogens can include regular hand washing, wearing appropriate masks/gowns, and sterilizing equipment after use.

Individuals who contract infections experience increased immunoglobulin M levels. A deficiency of immunoglobulin M and its concomitant antibodies can point to secondary diseases such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Immunoglobulin M test analysis entails collecting a blood sample and, in some instances, removal of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or saliva specimens.

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