The key difference between neutralizing and binding antibodies is that neutralizing antibodies are the antibodies that neutralize the effect of an antigen while binding antibodies are the antibodies that bind with the antigen (without affecting the infectivity), tag, and alert immune cells in our body to recognize them.
An antibody is an immunoglobin produced by the immune system of our body to identify and neutralize antigens such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Antigens are foreign invaders. Antibodies are specific, and they recognize and bind with unique antigens. They are Y shaped protective proteins. They are a part of the adaptive immune system. Neutralizing and binding antibodies are two types of antibodies. Neutralizing antibodies directly neutralize the antigens. Binding antibodies bind with the antigens and alert our immune system to the presence of an antigen and destroy it.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Neutralizing Antibodies
3. What are Binding Antibodies
4. Similarities – Neutralizing and Binding Antibodies
5. Neutralizing vs Binding Antibodies in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Neutralizing vs Binding Antibodies
What are Neutralizing Antibodies?
Neutralizing antibodies are antibodies that are able to neutralize antigens. Thus, these antibodies neutralize the infectious or pathogenic ability of antigens such as bacteria and viruses. Moreover, neutralizing antibodies can neutralize bacterial toxins. They don’t need immune cells to destroy antigens, unlike binding antibodies. Before infecting the cells, neutralizing antibodies destroy antigens entering the body. Since neutralizing antibodies neutralize antigens before they infect our cells, the immunity developed due to neutralizing antibodies is called sterilizing immunity.
Neutralizing antibodies are a part of our humoral response to the adaptive immune system. B cells in the bone marrow produce neutralizing antibodies as a result of an immune response. Neutralizing antibodies are very important against viruses. They specifically bind with viruses and block them from infecting the cells. Viruses become coated with neutralizing antibodies. Once they are coated with antibodies, viruses are inhibited from the attachment to the target cell or fusion with the membrane of the target cell.
What are Binding Antibodies?
Binding antibodies are a type of antibodies that bind with their specific antigens and alert our immune system to recognize and destroy them. Binding antibodies do not interfere with the infectivity of the pathogen/antigen. In fact, they are not capable of neutralizing antigens. Hence, they are also known as non-neutralizing antibodies.
Throughout the lifetime, binding antibodies are produced at high concentrations by our body. Binding antibodies are very useful as indicators of infections.
What are the Similarities Between Neutralizing and Binding Antibodies?
- Neutralizing and binding antibodies are two main types of antibodies.
- They bind with specific antigens.
- They are Y shaped proteins.
- They are produced by our immune system.
- Their production is triggered by infections and vaccinations.
What is the Difference Between Neutralizing and Binding Antibodies?
Neutralizing antibodies are capable of neutralizing antigens before antigens infect host cells, while binding antibodies are incapable of neutralizing antigens; instead, they coat them and alert the immune system to destroy them. So, this is the key difference between neutralizing and binding antibodies. Moreover, neutralizing antibodies destroy antigens without the help of immune cells, while binding antibodies need the help of immune cells to destroy antigens.
The following figure lists the differences between neutralizing and binding antibodies in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Neutralizing vs Binding Antibodies
Neutralizing antibodies and binding antibodies are two different types of antibodies that work against antigens. As their name implies, neutralizing antibodies neutralize the infectious or pathogenic activity of antigens without the help of other immune cells. In contrast, binding antibodies are non-neutralizing antibodies that bind to antigens and alert our immune system about the presence of antigens. Therefore, binding antibodies are not involved with the infectivity of the antigen. They help our immune system in recruiting immune cells to destroy antigens. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between neutralizing and binding antibodies.
1. “NAb esquema” By xspareta – Producció pròpia (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “2220 Four Chain Structure of a Generic Antibody-IgG2 Structures” By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. Jun 19, 2013. (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia