Sucrose density-gradient centrifugation was used for the study of serum IgM and IgG antibodies in rubella infection in early pregnancy. Seventeen women with proven rubella in the first trimester of pregnancy were tested and all were found to have an IgM antibody response to the virus. IgM antibody was present for 1 mth following the onset of illness but not later, and it was absent in women who did not have acute rubella. With one exception, IgM antibodies were not found in women who had recently given birth to an infant with congenital rubella.

The technique involved the collection of six fractions from the density gradient. The second fraction, which contained IgM but was free from IgG, was tested for rubella antibody by means of an HI test. Examination of this one fraction from a single serum collected within 1 mth of the onset of illness was sufficient to confirm or exclude a diagnosis of rubella.


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