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Abstract: Structural Nature and Function of Transfer Factors for Immune Support

  [ 66 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • December 1, 2000

Kirkpatrick, C.H.

Conrad D. Stephenson Laboratory for Research in Immunology, National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Denver, Colorado 80206.

Transfer factors are molecules that "educate" recipients to express cell-mediated immunity. This effect is antigen-specific. The most consistent effects of transfer factors on the immune system are expression of delayed-type hypersensitivity and production of lymphokines such as macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), which is probably identical to gamma-interferon in response to exposure to antigen. Transfer factors bind to antigens in an immunologically specific manner. This discovery has enabled us to isolate individual transfer factors from mixtures that contain several transfer factors. This reactivity probably explains the specificity of individual transfer factors, and it has provided a method for purification of individual transfer factors to apparent homogeneity. The purified materials are immunologically active and antigen-specific. They have molecular weights of approximately 5,000 Da and appear to be composed entirely of amino acids. Transfer factors appear to offer a novel means of molecular immunotherapy for certain patients with defective cell-mediated immunity.

PMID: 8363241, UI: 93370874

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