Publications & Reports

Dissimilar aggregation processes govern precipitation and gelation of human IgM cryoglobulins.

Vallas V, Farrugia W, Raison RL, Edmundson AB, Ramsland PA
Structural Immunology Laboratory, Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health, Heidelberg, VIC 3084, Australia.


Cryoglobulinemia is associated with a range of diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, B-cell malignancies, and chronic viral infections. This “cold-sensitivity” condition is caused by cryoglobulins that precipitate, gel, or occasionally crystallize in the cold. Clinical manifestations vary widely in severity, depending on many factors, including the type of cryoglobulin (monoclonal or mixed immunoglobulins) and the physical nature of the aggregates (precipitate, gel, or crystal). Dynamic light scattering (DLS) was used to examine the cold-induced precipitation or gelation of two human cryoglobulins, namely, Pot IgM and Yvo IgM. The DLS assay was highly reproducible, sensitive, and had low intra-assay variations for both IgM cryoglobulins. Distinct processes were revealed to contribute to precipitation and gelation of cryoglobulins. The precipitation of Pot IgM displayed a rapid transition from solution to solid phases, with a wide distribution of aggregate sizes. In contrast, the gelation of Yvo IgM progressed gradually across a broad temperature range to produce a relatively uniform gel matrix. Initial cryoglobulin concentrations determined the kinetics and critical temperatures for both precipitation and gelation. Moreover, the Yvo IgM was observed to have a distinct relationship between concentrations and mean hydrodynamic diameters or particle sizes. Concentration-dependent effects on particle sizes were present, but not as pronounced for the Pot IgM. Precipitation and gelation of cryoglobulins were also found to be differentially responsive to changes in the aqueous environment. Our results indicate that DLS is a rapid, reliable, and sensitive method for characterizing the nature of disease-associated cryoglobulins.


  • Journal: Journal of Molecular Recognition
  • Published: 01/03/2007
  • Volume: 20
  • Issue: 2
  • Pagination: 90-96