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September 7, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLIX(10):854. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02530100042004

We recently1 called attention to the important studies of Opie on the conditions under which the leucocytes are able to accomplish their digestive functions and the mechanism by which their activity is held in check. Apparently the finely granular leucocytes contain an enzyme (leucoprotease) which is quite different from the protein-digesting enzymes of all the other cells of the body, for the leucocyte enzymes act best in an alkaline medium, while the enzymes of the mononuclear leucocytes and of tissue cells in general are active only in slightly acid solutions. These proteolytic enzymes are held in check under ordinary conditions by the action of the blood serum, which contains some substance which effectively inhibits their activity. If, however, there is an excessive accumulation of leucocytes in a localized area the amount of leucoprotease may be greater than can be inhibited by the relatively small amount of serum present in

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