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An immunogen is an antigen or any substance that may be specifically bound by components of the immune system (antibody, lymphocytes). The term antigen arises from its ability to induce generation of antibodies (antigen = antibody generation). Despite the fact that all antigens are recognized by specific lymphocytes or by antibodies, not every antigen can evoke an immune response. Those antigens that are capable of inducing an immune response are said to be immunogenic and are called immunogens.An immunogen is any antigen that is capable of inducing humoral and/or cell-mediated immune response rather than immunological tolerance. This ability is called immunogenicity. Sometimes the term immunogen is used interchangeably with the term antigen. But only an immunogen can evoke an immune response.Generally, both are substances that are capable of generating antibodies (antigen) or stimulating immune responses (immunogen).
We can define an immunogen as a complete antigen which is composed of the macromolecular carrier and epitopes (determinants) that can induce immune response.An explicit example is a hapten. Haptens are low-molecular-weight compounds that may be bound by antibodies, but cannot elicit an immune response. Consequently, the haptens themselves are nonimmunogenic and they cannot evoke an immune response until they bind with a larger carrier immunogenic molecule. The hapten-carrier complex, unlike free hapten, can act as an immunogen and can induce an immune response.
Until 1959, the terms immunogen and antigen were not distinguished.

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