Human antidextran of one individual, absorbed specifically on sephadex, was fractionated into two populations of antibody molecules by successive elution with oligosaccharides of the isomaltose series of increasing size. The purified antibody fractions and some whole antidextran sera were found to fix complement with dextrans of molecular weight of 195,000 and above.
It could be demonstrated by quantitative microcomplement fixation inhibition assays that the antibody eluted with isomaltotriose had a higher affinity for smaller oligosaccharides relative to isomaltohexaose, indicating a high content of antibody molecules with smaller combining sites, while with the second fraction, eluted with isomaltohexaose, the small haptens were very poor inhibitors and the larger oligosaccharides inhibited readily, presumably due to a higher proportion of molecules with larger combining site size. Assays of similarly prepared fractions, obtained from earlier bleedings of the same individual (1), with inhibition of complement fixation were in good agreement with those obtained by inhibition of precipitation.
The two purified antidextran fractions were shown to differ with respect to their complement-fixing capacity. The fraction with molecules with smaller size-combining sites fixed only about half as much complement per unit antibody N as did the fraction containing largely molecules with larger combining sites suggesting that the strength of complement fixation is affected by the strength of the antigen-antibody interaction.