APS can offer one of the widest choice of animals for polyclonal antibody production in the UK. The most suitable host for antibody production will depend on the amount of antibody needed and the characteristics of the antibodies being made.
Rabbits are suitable for most projects. They produce strong immune reactions against most antigens in a relatively short period of time. The raw anti-sera can be used directly in assays. Rabbits typically give between 40ml and 90ml of serum.
Sheep & Goats
Sheep and goats give strong immune responses against most antigens and produce large volumes of serum, typically 200ml-300ml per host. They are the host of choice if large volumes of antisera is required. Sheep and goats can be kept on long term project and bleeds can be taken monthly for a period of 5 consecutive months. The average serum yield per annum is 2500ml.
Chickens (eggs) should be considered as the host if it is important for the phylogenetic relationship between the antigen donor and the antibody producer to be distant. Chickens transfer high quantities of immunoglobulins, (IgY), into the egg yolk, which eliminates the need for invasive bleeding procedures. The resultant antibody will need to be purified before use.
Mice & Rats
Mice and rats are ideally used as hosts for polyclonal projects when screening potential antigens prior to immunisation into a larger host. These hosts only provide small amounts of whole antisera.
Alpaca & Llama
Alpaca and llama are unique in producing antibodies composed solely of two identical heavy chains which makes them of great interest for basic research and ther apeutic applications. Alpaca antibodies are robust, with the ability to withstand elevated temperatures and a wide pH range, extending their within in vivo and in vitro applications.
Emu (eggs) offer an alternative to the chicken egg for the production of IgY. An emu egg is typically 10 -15 times larger than a chicken egg.
NOTE: Availability is seasonal, from October to March.