Definitions

heterophile antibody

Heterophile

[het-er-uh-fil]
Heterophile is an alternate term to heterosexual and once competed with it for currency, but only did so successfully in Scandinavia. It is a parallel concept to homophile.

In Scandinavia and Finland, the word heterofil is a gender-neutral term, like "heterosexual" in Canada and the United States.

Medical

Heterophile antibodies are antibodies induced by external antigens (heterophile antigens) that cross-react with self-antigens. For example, antibodies against group A streptococcal cell walls can also react with human heart tissues. These are considered heterophile antibodies.

In clinical diagnosis, the heterophile antibody test specifically refers to a rapid test for antibodies produced against the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the causative agent of infectious mononucleosis.

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