Natural antibodies to IFN-gamma were found in healthy individuals ranging from newborn babies to adults and, at higher levels, in patients suffering from different viral infections. During a viral infection, the titer of anti-IFN-gamma antibodies was observed to be correlated with the stage of the disease. Antibodies specific to IFN-gamma were affinity purified both from sera taken from healthy individuals and sera from viral-infected patients, by using a rIFN-gamma-coupled CNBr-activated Sepharose 4B column. The antibodies were found to be of the IgG class, and maintained their ability to bind rIFN-gamma. They were then tested for neutralizing activity and none of the IgG preparations we analyzed impaired the antiviral activity of rIFN-gamma. This finding suggests that the antigenic determinants recognized by these antibodies on the IFN-gamma molecule are located outside the site, on the IFN-gamma molecule, responsible for its antiviral activity.

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