antibody-specific model

antibody-specific model

a proposed explanation for antibody formation that states that precommitted clones of lymphoid cells produced in the fetus are capable of interacting with a limited number of antigenic determinants with which they may have contact. Any such cells that encounter their specific antigenic determinant in utero are destroyed or suppressed. This action removes cells programmed to produce endogenous autoantibodies and prevents the development of autoimmune diseases, leaving intact those cells capable of reacting with exogenous antigens. The model holds that the body contains an enormous number of diverse clones of cells, each genetically programmed to synthesize a different antibody. Any antigen entering the body selects the specific clone programmed to synthesize the antibody for that antigen and stimulates the cells of the clone to proliferate and produce more of the same antibody. Also called clonal selection theory. Compare antibody-instructive model. See also autoimmunity.