IT has been recognised since the time of Louis Pasteur that factors providing immunity could be found in serum. These proteins (antibodies) are produced by the body in response to the presence of foreign proteins (antigens), which stimulate an immune response. Antibodies usually bind specifically to the antigen which stimulated their production. This specificity, coupled with the ready accessibility of blood serum for analysis, has led to the widespread use of antibodies as aids to disease diagnosis. The measurement of antigen-antibody reactions for diagnostic purposes is known as serology. This article describes the underlying principles and common applications of various serological tests employed in the veterinary field. By way of an introduction, it briefly reviews antibody production and the types of antibodies relevant to diagnostic serology.
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