Vaccines have been praised as an effective solution for infectious diseases, but the full capabilities of our immune systems are yet to be explored and taken advantage of. As such, there is still much potential to uncover in regards to how we can best support its functions.
Generally, our bodies can efficiently distinguish between malicious pathogens and beneficial vaccines that stimulate immunity; however, certain components can interfere with this process.
According to a research revealed in Science Immunology this past January (2023), which was initially submitted 8 months prior (in August 2022), incremental doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine boosters may be an instrumental element, depending on how they shape our immune system. In this particular instance, the immune system developed a false sense of security from confronting with the booster version of the vaccine. This is meant to train and equip your body’s defense mechanism against viruses like these. Regrettably, the immune system had become accustomed to not needing to mount a formidable counterattack. What’s even more concerning is that vaccine boosters might have no effect on those with an elevated risk of serious infection.
Vaccination Impacted the Subtype Composition of IgG
The study found that the third dose of mRNA vaccines may be connected to a switch in IgG subtypes, which is the most common form of antibodies within our immune system. This raises important questions about whether immunity can become overworked and exhausted with additional doses. When B cells realize an invading microbe is more resilient than expected, they transition to producing the stronger IgG immunoglobulin in lieu of the typical IgM. This process, known as class switching, helps protect against infection by equipping them with a higher quality defense system.
IgG, the main serum antibody in our immune system representing 80% of total antibodies, is an essential factor for fighting infections. After B cells switch classes to better suit their environment, they produce different types of IgG rather than less efficient immunoglobulin cells. Additionally, depending on the intensity of the infection, this ratio may be altered as well.
Our immune system relies on IgG to defend us from invasive cells and pathogens. It works by attaching itself to these intruders, signaling killer cells to eliminate them using phagocytosis. Additionally, it is the only antibody that can pass through the placenta into the unborn fetus for protection.
Nevertheless, IgG is divided into four main subtypes–labeled as IgG1 to IgG4–each possessing its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Of all four, IgG1 is the most abundant in serum IgG because of its superior immune properties. Together with IgG3, these two types make up the majority of serum antibodies and are therefore considered to be the strongest members of such family.
In comparison to other immunoglobulin isotypes, IgG4 manifests as the weakest form due to its lack of ability in attracting immune cells that are tasked with eliminating foreign bodies.
Studies demonstrate that IgG4 content is typically about 4 percent, which was corroborated by the research findings for patients after they had received their second dose of vaccine five months prior.
After the second dose, IgG4 levels dropped to a mere 0.04 percent while 96.55 percent of all IgG was composed of the two most potent members in the family: IgG1 and IgG3- as reported by Science Immunology paper.
The alteration of IgG levels suggests that the body regards a second dose as an intense infection and generates more effective IgG antibodies to address this synthetic contamination. Nevertheless, after receiving the vaccine booster shot, outcomes differ significantly.
After the third dosage, the IgG4 present in blood serum skyrocketed to an unforeseen extent. Ten days later, it reached 13.91%, and five months after that, it climbed even further up to 19.27%. Simultaneously, IgG1 and IgG3 decreased substantially – a drastic shift in antibody composition within the bloodstream was confirmed by this study’s findings.