We venture to present a few facts on an intricate subject, conscious that their full meaning and value must await the verdict of prolonged research.
In a recent investigation by two of us1 it was found that when horse serum was dropped into the nose of a guinea-pig on alternate days, as few as four times, the animal became biologically modified in one of two opposite directions. A "toxic" injection of a large dose of serum given by the vein sixteen days after the last instillation could strongly shock or kill the guinea-pig. That is, the animal had become "sensitized" to the horse serum absorbed through the mucous membrane of the nose as if it had been given by subcutaneous injection. In certain animals, however, the toxic injection of horse serum not only did not kill, but produced scarcely noticeable symptoms of reaction.
Such a result would be attributed
SEWALL H, MITCHELL WC, POWELL C. IMMUNITY CONFERRED BY THE TRANSFER OF IMMUNE AND OF MIXED IMMUNE AND SENSITIZED SERUMS. JAMA. 1916;LXVII(2):95-98. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02590020011003