Cryoglobulinemia is usually classified into three subgroups according to Ig composition: type I cryoglobulinemia is composed of only one isotype or subclass of immunoglobulin. Both type II and type III mixed cryoglobulins are immune complexes composed of polyclonal IgGs, the autoantigens, and mono- or polyclonal IgMs, respectively; the IgMs are the corresponding autoantibodies with rheumatoid factor (RF) activity.
Initially used for the treatment of immunodeficiencies, intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIg) have increasingly been used as immunomodulatory agent in autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. The mode of action of IVIg is enigmatic, probably involving Fc-dependent and/or F(ab’)2-dependent non-exclusive mechanisms of action. IVIg broadly interacts with the different components of the immune system: cytokines, complement, Fc receptors and several cell surface immunocompetent molecules. IVIg also has an impact on effector functions of immune cells. These mechanisms of action of IVIg reflect the importance of natural antibodies in the maintenance of immune homeostasis.