More on Ig names

mdcabl at mdcabl at
Fri Nov 11 05:26:50 EST 1994

Hi all,
I have found out a bit more the names of the immunoglobins.  Some of the
replies I had were quite useful and am including the answers.  One poular
misconception that I have to address is that the names are derived from the
greek alphabet. If that were true then it would be Ig-alpha not IgA. The greek
terms for the receptors come later. Also, the Ig names are NOT based on where 
they migrated in gel electrophoresis, with the notable exception of IgG.
Basically, human plasma was first electrophoresed without a denaturant so the 
alpha beta gamma names are simply the broad protien peaks which are not very 
well related to molecular weight but rather net charge. Consequently, IgA 
migrates in the beta fraction; IgG(originally identified as 7S gamma globulin), 
IgE and IgM (19S gamma globulin) all migrate in the gamma fraction.  
I don't have a clue where soluble IgD migrates.
So far I have names for half:

IgE denoted erythema; it was originally named gamma-E but was subsequently
changed(Silverstein, A History of Immunolgy, 1989, Academic Press, page
227) original reference: K. Ishizaka and T. Ishizaka,J. Allergy, 37,169 (1966)
IgM denotes Macroglobulin (sorry no refs but most replies said this was the
IgG denotes gamma (Silerstein again, p363)

IgA =?
IgD =?

I got the electrophoretic mobility data from two sources: IgG&IgM from
Ishizaka, J. Immunol. 97,(1966) page 1001. and the IgA mobility from Heremans,
Clin. Chem Acta. 4 p96 (1954). 
I have requested a review which should have the full history of the
immunoglobins.  It should be here within a week or so.  I'll let everbody know
with references.  IMHO, I guess I could have done this in the first place but 
I was being lazy and thought perhaps I could get quick answers.  It truly does
amaze me how quickly we as scientists lose knowledge of our own field.  
I'll bet the naming of the Igs was a hot topic in its day. Now the names are
disappearing into the mists of time :-) 

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