Plasma is the liquid part of blood, consisting mainly in water with small amounts of dissolved proteins, of inorganic (such as sodium, chlorine, calcium, bicarbonate …) and organic (amino acids, glucose, uric acid, fat. ..) components and trace gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Among the plasma proteins there are also the antibodies (immunoglobulins) that are responsible for the immune response of the organism and are classified into five isotypes (A, D, E, G, M).
The IgG is the is isotype with the highest concentration in the blood and plays a dominant role in the antibody-mediated defense (secondary immune response) of the organism. Because of their size they can leave blood vessels much more easily than other antibodies, and thus their participation in the early immune response of the tissues is especially important. IgG can opsonize antigens, cause agglutination and precipitation of antibody-antigen products, but they can activate the complement only if a sufficient amount is accumulated from them in the right configuration on the surface of the antigen.
The normal serum IgG concentration in horses is between 11.5 to 21 g / l (Veterinary Immunology-Michael J Day, page 24).
The IgG molecule has a Y-shaped structure, consisting of a double polypeptide chain. The two “arms” of the Y are the Fab fragments which have the capacity for antigen binding, while the “body” of the “Y”, the Fc fragment, has the ability to bind to receptors on the cell surface area. This fragment is responsible for the activation of the complement cascade, which destroys cell membranes and therefore is essential for the deaths of harmful microorganisms.
Plasmalife ® is then collected and stored in order to preserve these important properties of the IgG at minimum protein concentration at 24 g / l, which is significantly higher than the circulating serum levels of normal horses. This is possible by completely healthy and hyperimmune plasma donors for Plasmalife®.