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J Exp Med. 1949 Apr 1;89(4):369-93.

Immobilization of Treponema pallidum in vitro by antibody produced in syphilitic infection.


Treponema pallida were extracted from rabbit testicular syphilomas and suspended in a special medium in which the organisms remain motile and infectious for several days. On incubation of such suspensions with syphilitic rabbit or human sera and guinea pig complement, the treponemes became non-motile and lost their capacity to infect rabbits. Various factors affecting this immobilization have been investigated. In a preliminary survey of individual sera, immobilizing antibody could be detected in the majority of sera from syphilitic animals and human beings, but was absent in almost all the normal sera examined. It could be demonstrated that the immobilizing and reagin activities of syphilis sera are due to separate antibodies.

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