What is Gamma Globulin?

by Anthony Carter on May 6, 2011


Gamma globulin is found in the blood. It is also called immunoglobulin and it is a type of protein. It is also a type of antibody that helps the body fight disease. Gamma globulin can even be taken from one individual and given to another in order to help them boost their own immune system. This can then be used to prevent disease or combat a disease already present in the body. Immunoglobulin is not only to be found in humans; it is also present in most mammals.

How Gamma Globulin Works

This type of antibody is usually administered by injection. It is effective in those situations where the individual’s immune system does not have the necessary antibodies to combat a disease. When we get a disease the body will develop antibodies to fight against it. This means that should the same disease attack in the future the body will have resistance in the form of these proteins. Of course if the individual has not had the disease then they will not have the resistance. Gamma globulin offers temporary resistance because it contains the proteins to fight the disease.

The way it all works can be better understood with the aid of an example. If an individual has had measles their body will have produced gamma globulin which will provide resistance if they come in further contact with the disease. This protein could be passed onto another individual by way of injection and this would temporarily pass on immunity to them. Nowadays we have a lot more vaccines than in the past so there is less need to use other people’s antibodies to fight individual diseases. Instead gamma globulin is mostly used to help people who have problems with their immune system.

Another way that this antibody is used is to treat immunological diseases. Sometimes the immune system can malfunction and this leads to a situation where it is attacking itself. A good example of this is Thrombocytopenic purpura. Here the immune system can attack platelets and this is dangerous because these are needed for blood clotting. By using immunoglobulin though, this immune system attack on the body is stopped.

Dangers of Gamma Globulin

If the body has too much immunoglobulin then this can also be problematic. It is often the sigh of damaged immune system. This could be caused by a disease such as HIV or cancer. When gamma globulin is too high in the body it is referred to as hypergammaglobulinemia. Another possible danger with these injections is that it could possible lead to heart problems. This is why those who are undergoing this treatment will be monitored and told to inform the doctor of any strange reactions right away. Most of those who have these injections won’t have to deal with any adverse reactions.

Gamma globulin is an important part of our immune defenses. Sometimes our own immunity is not enough to fight off disease but luckily we can benefit from the immunoglobulin of other people.

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