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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » IgM vs IgG

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Author Topic: IgM vs IgG
twinnick
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Some days I feel like I understand the difference between IGG and IGM....and then some days I don't. I read stuff online and just tend to confuse myself.

So I had a couple of basic questions.

If one takes a Western Blot test, what does it mean if they only have IgM bands show up? And what does it mean if they only have IgG bands show up?

Is one chronic and one not?

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Lymetoo
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Moving to Medical Questions.....

Western Blot Explanation
http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/1/42077

"With most infections, your immune system first forms IgM antibodies, then in about 2 to 4 weeks, you see IgG antibodies. In some infections, IgG antibodies may be detectable for years.

Because Borrelia burgdorferi is a chronic persistent infection that may last for decades, you would think patients with chronic symptoms would have positive IgG Western blots.

But actually, more IgM blots are positive in chronic borreliosis than IgG. Every time Borrelia burgdorferi reproduces itself, it may stimulate the immune system to form new IgM antibodies.

Some patients have both IgG and IgM blots positive. But if either the IgG or IgM blot is positive, overall it is a positive result.

Response to antibiotics is the same if either is positive, or both. Some antibodies against the borrelia are given more significance if they are IgG versus IgM, or vice versa.

Since this is a chronic persistent infection, this does not make a lot of sense to me. A newly formed Borrelia burgdorferi should have the same antigen parts as the previous bacteria that produced it.

But anyway, from my clinical experience, these borrelia associated bands usually predict a clinical change in symptoms with antibiotics, regardless of whether they are IgG or IgM. In regard to the outer surface proteins, think of it like the skin of a human." -- Dr C of MO

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That's all I've got for tonight. I'm off to bed! [Smile]

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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poppy
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Depends who you ask.

Establishment/IDSA view: IgM shows up first in early disease, then disappears and is replaced by IgG. These are longer lived antibodies and may remain for years after the infection is gone. If you have IgM and late stage disease, without positive IgG, then it is a false positive

Lyme literate view, and what actually happens in lyme disease: IgM may come and go as the disease fluctuates, with the spirochete changing its surface proteins to confuse the immune system. IgG may disappear over time in late stage when immune system gives up, can't keep up with the switching changing culprit. So, you can have no bands and still have the infection. You can have positive IgM and have early or late disease. You can have positive IgG and have later disease. You can have positive IgG and have cured the disease. And I think people who got the previous lyme vaccine might also come up with a positive IgG but I am not sure about this one.

No wonder it is confusing and misunderstood.

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surprise
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There is a recent post on a Lyme MD's blog about this very topic.

--------------------
Lyme positive PCR blood, and
positive Bartonella henselae Igenex, 2011.
low positive Fry biofilm test, 2012.
Update 7/16- After extensive treatments,
doing okay!

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sk8ter
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no...UC Davis study says IgM stays in chronic lyme...totally refutes the IDSA stance
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Sammi
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I was told by the director of IgeneX that IgM shows a more recent infection and IgG shows a longer-standing infection.
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twinnick
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I get confused with IGG and "long standing infection"...

Does it mean that you chronic I'd you have IGG since it means "long standing". Then I heard you can have IGG years after being treated for lyme and being symptom free.

If, I mean when, I am symptom free and get a western blot done...should I freak out if I have IGG bands?

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GretaM
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I've had lyme for 13 years now(never treated)...and I was positive in IgM only.

The normal bacterial rules for western blots don't apply when lyme is involved.

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Lymetoo
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quote:
Originally posted by GretaM:


The normal bacterial rules for western blots don't apply when lyme is involved. [/QB]

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The most common response for chronic Lyme patients is to have a positive IgM, but you can have either one or both to be positive.

twinnick.. testing again shouldn't panic you because another test will mean nothing. There is no point in testing again.

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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twinnick
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So what does it mean if someone had IgM bands and IgG bands the first time the got tested; went through treatment; got tested again and no longer had IgM bands and only had IgG bands?

This is where I get confused...chicken:egg

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Lymetoo
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I really have no clue. Same lab??

Ask your LLMD next time you see him!

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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twinnick
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Yeah....same lab.
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