Immunization of mice with acetaldehyde conjugated to human plasma proteins resulted in the production of polyclonal antibodies that reacted with erythrocyte protein‐acetaldehyde conjugates, but not with control erythrocyte proteins. Such antibodies recognized erythrocyte protein‐acetaldehyde conjugates prepared with 20–100 μM acetaldehyde, concentrations that exist in the blood of alcoholics. The antibodies also recognized acetaldehyde condensation products with synthetic poly‐(L‐lysine). Immunization with keyhole limpet hemocyanin‐acetaldehyde conjugates resulted in antibodies against both plasma protein‐acetaldehyde and erythrocyte protein‐acetaldehyde conjugates, which did not cross‐react with the respective unmodified carrier proteins. Immunization with human erythrocyte protein‐acetaldehyde condensates led to the production of antibodies against both the protein moiety as well as the condensate. Monoclonal antibodies with affinities 50 times greater for the condensate than for the carrier protein were produced by hybridization of spleen cells from the immunized mice. Chronic alcohol administration to mice for 45–50 days led to the generation of antibodies that reacted against protein‐acetaldehyde conjugates, suggesting that such adducts are formed in vivo and can act as neoantigens. Antibodies against acetaldehyde adducts should be of value in the identification of alcohol consumption and in the study of the biology of the adducts in relation to organ pathology.
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