The alleged demonstration in 1915 by Ostromyschlenski1 that diphtheria antitoxin can be synthesized in the test tube without the aid of living cells initiated a radical movement in immunology, challenging most of the historic basic tenets. The latest Russian challenge is by Wygodtschikoff and Manuilowa,2 who impeach time-honored theories of phagocytosis and current faith in bacterial stability. Their observations, if confirmed, are of direct clinical significance.
During the height of interest in opsonin therapy it was alleged by such leaders as Bordet that no specific adaptation whatever takes place in leukocytes, increased phagocytosis being due solely to humoral factors (opsonins). The Russian scientists criticize the experimental crudities of the time, particularly the historic error of drawing conclusions from seminecrotic leukocytes and from leukocytes suspended in solution of sodium chloride, from which a modern physiologist would not expect normal functions. They therefore repeated the classic Bordet experiments with modern
UPSETTING IMMUNOLOGIC TENETS. JAMA. 1931;96(15):1232-1233. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02720410042017