Insights into mechanisms of antibody-mediated immunity from studies with Cryptococcus neoformans

A. Casadevall, L. Pirofski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


At first glance Cryptococcus neoformans appears an unlikely microbe to provide a new understanding of mechanisms of antibody-mediated immunity (AMI), because it is a facultative intracellular fungal pathogen for which the role of naturally acquired AMI in host defense is uncertain. However, numerous studies have now established that certain antibodies (Abs) against C. neoformans are protective in certain hosts. Studies with Abs to C. neoformans have provided new insights into AMI and generated new precedents with implications for other pathogens. The following concepts have emerged: 1) susceptibility to C. neoformans may be related to qualitative and quantitative aspects of the Ab response; 2) protective monoclonal Abs can be generated against pathogens even when the role of humoral immunity is uncertain; 3) Abs to C. neoformans mediate protection by immunomodulatory effects, thereby linking Ab efficacy to the overall host immune response; 4) Ab efficacy is critically dependent on fine specificity, which in turn is affected by immunoglobulin variable region usage, somatic mutation and constant region usage; 5) the efficacy of passive Ab therapy is a function of Ab dose and infecting innoculum, with lack of efficacy at the extremes of Ab concentration; 6) Ab-mediated toxicity resulting from antigen-Ab complex-induced release of platelet activating factor is isotype dependent. Observations with C. neoformans have stimulated a reappraisal of the role of humoral immunity for other pathogens and highlighted the limitations in current methods of assessing the role of Ab in host defense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-433
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Molecular Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibody-mediated immunity
  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • Glucuronoxylomannan
  • Immunomodulation
  • Isotypes
  • Monoclonal antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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