The binding of protein antigens to APC with heterocrosslinked bispecific antibodies (HBAs) enhances their processing and presentation to Th cells in vitro. Here we have asked whether HBAs could also increase immune responses in vivo. We immunized mice with hen egg lysozyme (HEL) in the presence or absence of HBA, and followed antibody production after the primary challenge and after a secondary boost. We found that HBAs that bind antigen to MHC class I or II molecules, to Fc gamma R, but not to surface IgD, enhance the immunogenicity of HEL. HBAs that bound HEL to MHC class II molecules, for examples, decreased the amount of antigen required to elicit a primary anti-HEL antibody response in mice by 300-fold, and the amount required to prime for a secondary response by 10(3)- to 10(4)-fold. In fact, HBAs were as effective as IFA in generating antibody responses. Since adjuvants cannot be used in humans, HBAs could prove useful for immunizing people, especially in cases where, due to scarcity or toxicity, minute doses of antigen must be used.

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