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Polyclonal Antibody Production: 6 Simple Secrets

The modern age is all about technological advancements. However, when it concerns industrial antibody production procedures, investigators and scholars have conducted several forms and types of studies to find various ways to produce polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies. Speaking of which, careful preparation and planning are integral to producing exceptional polyclonal antibodies (pABs). The typical method of producing polyclonal antibodies from B lymphocytes’ mixture is through multiple epitope affinities with the same antigen.   

The pAb development is spread across two to six months from the initiation to the conclusion, though rigorous and custom schedules. The first process is to choose the immunizing antigen. In addition, pAbs are not appropriate for monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Moving on, here are six simple secrets of producing polyclonal antibodies

Animal Selection 

Following antigen preparation and selection, it’s the right time to select the appropriate animal species. In this case, rabbits are often an ideal option for pAb development because of their long lifespan, size, ability to produce high-titer, high-affinity antibodies, and ease of handling. The housing environment, animal diet, stress levels, and the availability of other antigens in the animal’s environment can also affect the production of polyclonal antibodies. For instance, such an animal can be easily accommodated in controlled laboratories through which investigators can acquire superior pAb product yields through group housing and stringent barrier environments.  

However, the former reduces stress levels associated with cage housing and enables you to extract more natural behavior patterns, resulting in preferable immune responses and exceptional polyclonal antibody production. When it comes to stringent barrier environments, they can help minimize undesired antibody levels in rabbits and result in lower background immunoglobulin levels. 

Adjuvants to enhance results 

The adjuvant offers immune-stimulatory signals to an animal’s immune system to boost a specific immune response. Here, antigens with low immunogenicity can still be utilized to produce pAbs if they accommodate well with an adjuvant. Furthermore, you can easily administer adjuvants to allow meager antigen doses. 

If you fail to understand the correlation, a handful of instances exist. Take Freund’s complete adjuvant, for example. His incomplete aluminum salts (alum) and adjuvant made a significant difference. However, Freud’s complete adjuvant is extensively utilized in polyclonal antibody production because of its ability to administer high antiserum titers against various antigens. Furthermore, its use is typically reserved for initial immunizations since inactivated mycobacterium available in adjuvants can lead to tissue necrosis with repetitive administration. 

In such cases, thorough aseptic antigen-adjuvant blend preparation is essential to prevent the contaminating microorganism accumulation,  helping to sustain antigen stability. On the other hand, if the antigen-adjuvant mixture is of poor quality, the selected animal species are at risk of illness, with their antibodies having lower titer and functionality. 

Immunization protocol  

The path used to remit the antigen depends on several factors comprising the specific characteristics of the adjuvant, the animal species, and the volume and composition of the antigen. However, one of the common immunization protocols is to make numerous subcutaneous injections (SC) on its back for rabbits. This procedure allows for prospective inflammatory reactions that one can monitor visually.   

Post immunization, you should monitor animals daily, which involves palpating the site injected with the pathological lesions. Once you have undergone this procedure, perform a clinical observation to determine their general health. Here, monitoring the antibody response is mandatory.  

After a couple of weeks of direct injections, they perform test bleeds through experiments. During this stage, researchers measure specific antibodies levels using assays similar to those developed for the initial use. 

Antibody collection 

Proceed to serum collection once you have observed a suitable response to the immunization since different species comprise unique circulating blood volume percentages. Production bleeds, also called more significant volume bleeds, can be carried over time. In addition, before quality assurance testing, consider pooling and centrifuging the collected antiserum to remove cellular debris. 

Polyclonal antibody purification 

The microorganisms, remaining cellular debris, and non-specific immunoglobulins can affect antibody performance. Consequently, researchers must perform pAb purification processes. Moreover, investigators should diligently consider which purification process is most appropriate.  

Under the pAb purification strategy, move towards developing resins to purify various species of IgA and IgM antibody molecules. The pAbs production for utilization as reagents in research, clinical development, and diagnostics consist of numerous unique steps. Through careful variables like adjuvants, injection protocols, animal species, and antibody collection methods and purification, scholars and bioscience departments can develop high-quality pAbs. 


The primary ingredient is carefully planning and preparing to produce exceptional polyclonal antibodies. pAbs are often handpicked for various applications where their potential to recognize several epitopes on a specified antigen is beneficial. 

The Bottom Line 

Simple secrets of producing polyclonal antibodies depend on several internal and external factors. If the initial step is incorporated without errors, the latter follows seamlessly. In this case, it depends on the animal species you select, followed by antibody collection and adjuvant selection.  

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