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J Exp Med. Jan 5, 1911; 13(1): 78–91.
PMCID: PMC2124855

THE COMPARATIVE MERITS OF VARIOUS COMPLEMENTS AND AMBOCEPTORS IN THE SERUM DIAGNOSIS OF SYPHILIS

Abstract

1. The maximum activity of an antihuman hemolytic amboceptor may be obtained by employing the homologous or heterologous complement, according to the variable relations existing between the species furnishing the amboceptor and the one supplying the complement. Thus, some amboceptors are best reactivated by the complement of the same species, while others may act most strongly when reactivated with the complements of certain suitable heterologous species. 2. From the above it is clear that the complementary activity of a given serum may be very variable according to the varieties of amboceptors employed. In expressing the complementary activity of a serum, the species of the host of the amboceptor must always be stated. Thus, one serum may have many different complementary titers according to the amboceptors used. A similar variation in the titers of the amboceptors occurs when a variety of complements are employed. 3. Certain species of animals (pig and sheep) yield sera which are comparatively poor in reactivating most varieties of antihuman amboceptors. The complements of these species deteriorate rapidly. 4. The serum of chicken contained but little complement for the amboceptors derived from the mammalia, while the amboceptor from the chicken was only poorly, or not at all, reactivable by the complements contained in the mammalian sera. The serum of pig was the only variety which reactivated this amboceptor in a fair degree. 5. For the fixation tests guinea pig complement is the most favorable. This complement is also the most active and durable of those which have been studied. The complements of pig and sheep are quite fixable, but their weakness and rapid deterioration render them unsuitable for fixation purposes. Rabbit complement is quite active but is not easily fixable. Goat complement is, as already stated, difficult to fix, in spite of its strong complementary activity. The other complements are unsuitable because of their feeble complementary activity. 6. For fixation tests the antihuman amboceptors produced in the rabbit and guinea pig are suitable. They are, moreover, very active and do not cause the phenomenon of non-fixation. The amboceptors from other animals are unsuitable, as we cannot find a complement which strongly reactivates them. The amboceptor from the goat is unsuitable because of the danger of masking the fixation phenomenon by subsequent hemolysis. 7. In summing up, we arrive at the conclusion that the rabbit is the best animal for producing antihuman amboceptor, and the guinea pig for supplying complement. The guinea pig produces a good amboceptor, but its small size renders it second in choice. So far, no other animals have been found useful for the fixation experiments.

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