To Switch or Not to Switch?
Departments of Applied Health, Primary Care and Health Systems
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Hyper-IgM syndrome is an X-linked genetic disorder more commonly affecting males than females. It is caused by the lack of heavy chain class-switching from IgM to other isotypes. Patients with hyper-IgM syndrome are susceptible to a variety of infections as demonstrated in this medical case study. Students are presented patient information, symptoms and a diagnosis that must be interpreted. The case was written for use with the team-based learning (TBL) format involving groups of 4-5 students per group, but it could also be completed as an individual project. The case is targeted to premedical/allied health advanced students and is appropriate for any immunology course at the undergraduate or graduate level in a biomedical science program, or health-related professional courses such as advanced physiology, pathophysiology, microbiology, or histology and cytology.
- Describe the basic structure of an antibody molecule and distinguish between the Fc and Fab regions.
- List the sequential steps in B cell activation in response to an infection.
- Identify and differentiate the various isotypes of antibodies.
- Explain the mechanism and regulation of isotype switching, and why a specific type of isotype (such as IgG) is produced in a given situation instead of another (such as IgE).
- Identify possible causes of isotype switching failure and the biological health consequences that may result.
KeywordsIgM; immunoglobulins; isotype switching; B lymphocyte; CD40; CD4+ T cell; immunoglobulin class switching; immunology
Educational LevelUndergraduate upper division, Graduate, Professional (degree program), Clinical education
Type / MethodsDirected, Discussion
Subject HeadingsDental Medicine | Medicine (General) | Nursing | Pharmacy / Pharmacology | Physiology | Developmental Biology |