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Difference Between IgM and IgG

lggIgM vs IgG

An immunoglobulin or antibody refers to proteins that bind to antigens in specific cases. Both IgM and IgG refer to a class of immunoglobulin. Antibodies are produced by the immune system to fight antigens like bacteria and viruses. IgM refers to those antibodies that are produced immediately after an exposure to the disease, while IgG refers to a later response. IgG generally confers immunity to a patient so far as that particular disease is concerned.

There are a different immune responses to different antigens or ‘enemies’ that threaten the body. For instance, the antibody produced by your body in response to an exposure to chicken pox is different from the response it produces in case of mononucleosis. At times, the body may mistakenly produce antibodies even against itself! This results in an autoimmune disease.

Immunoglobulin G or IgG is the antibody that is found most abundantly in the human body. It is found in all bodily fluids and it protects the human body against bacterial and viral attacks.

Immunoglobulin M on the other hand is found mainly in the lymph fluid and in blood. This is the first antibody that is produced by the human fetus. It is also the first antibody that is produced in case of an exposure to a particular disease.

IgG and IgM are usually measured together by your doctor when you go in for a test. When they are evaluated together, they give your doctor a better idea about the functioning of your immune system.

An important difference between the two antibodies is related to exposure. While IgM antibodies are usually found in a human body after it has been exposed to a disease, IgG is the long term response of the body to a disease. For instance, if a kid is exposed to chickenpox, he will show elevated results of IgM in the blood in the period following the exposure. Once the child gets the disease, he acquires long term immunity against it by developing IgG antibodies. While IgM is an indicator of a current infection, an IgG indicates a recent or past exposure to the illness.

IgM is the first antibody that the body produces in an acute infection. It is approximately six times larger than IgG and is multivalent. This means that it has multiple binding sites. In the case of IgM, the number of binding sites is 10! However, only about half of these can actually bind to an antigen.

IgM is a temporary antibody that disappears within two or three weeks. It is then replaced by IgG which lasts for life and provides lasting immunity to the person.

1. IgM is the immediate antibody that is produced once a human body is exposed to a bacteria, virus or a toxin
2. IgG is found throughout the body, mainly in most of the bodily fluids, while IgM is found mainly in the blood and lymphatic fluids.
3. IgM is larger in size compared to IgG
4. IgM is temporary and disappears after a few weeks. It is then replaced by IgG.

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  1. good information thanks

  2. Thank you so much for offering a comprehendable explanation for this!

  3. Thanks for the above – clear and concise.

    I have seen test results for long term chronic bacterial infection, i.e. several years after initial infection, that have a significant igM and a negative igG. What is occuring in this instance?

    • I would like to understand this also as one of my parents tick infection results came back with this issue and its puzzling .Is it possible they have an immune deficiency and are not making igg antibodies to this bacteria? I myself have primary immune defficiency .low IG1 and IGa. chronic lyme and coinfections as well.

  4. Thank you very much for offering very clear and concise description between IgG and Igm. It made it easier to interpret one of our resident’s test results.

  5. Thank you so much! I have low numbers in both of these and have difficulty in explaining what they are to people. I have trouble understanding it as it is so new to me! I printed out the article to keep with me.

  6. thank you so much for this clear and easy explanation between igG and igM now i have a better understand,

  7. Very well explained. thanks !

  8. Thank u sir for info

  9. Thank you very much! Very clear and useful.

  10. Thanks for this intresting explanation about IgM and IgG

  11. Thank you for clear explanation because I got afraid I don’t have Igm in my body when I got sick it’s only Igg.. Now it’s clear to me that after a week it will comeback.

  12. sir pls tell that my test typhoid igm positive and igg negative.thanks

  13. Had some tests done and my varicella IgG was over 3,000 and the Igm was 1.12 positive. I am not having any shingles…what does this mean.

  14. Thanks for giving wonderful knowledge about the captioned subject…

  15. thanks very good and short explanation!

  16. This is a wonderfull piece of information,I need to print this.thanks

  17. Hello my name is Roopam and I just want to know that my IGg test is 107.10 and is there any risk in pregnancy

  18. I got tested for chlamydia igg and igm..
    igg is 1.33 positive
    igm is 0.38 negative
    wat shud I do now…I dont know wat to do

  19. I really find this concise and clear information helpful. Tnx a lot

  20. Thank you sir for presenting such an easy learning approach to the difference of IgM and IgG.
    I have a question. Why in some people IgM is always positive for typhoid? Why don’t they get cured??

  21. Once the IgG antibody is created and lets say the disease comes back, will you still see a positive IgM again?

  22. thanks for your info is useful

  23. Thanks so much
    Its cleared my idea about IgM and IgG antibodies.

  24. Thank for giving information …..its very useful

  25. Tnks inform igm

    Very very tnks

  26. Appreciate for good explanation.

  27. Thanks. It is v. Useful information for me.

  28. Thank you. Informative details.Good job.

  29. Thank you so much doctor for this explanation. My brother tested Typhoid IgG and IgM positive. He feels week and also have high fever. He behaves abnormal for a short time. Doctor what is the natural remedy and please let me know what can be done to get my brother back to normalcy

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