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August 16, 1941

Current Comment

JAMA. 1941;117(7):535-536. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820330039011

CHEMICAL NATURE OF BLOOD AGGLUTINOGEN  The isolation and identification of the human blood group specific B-agglutinogen has just been reported by Witebsky,1 a refugee physician from the Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, Heidelberg, Germany, at present a member of the research staff of the Buffalo General Hospital. Determination of the chemical nature of this hereditary hapten is of both theoretical and clinical interest. Following the development of modern methods of determining incompatibilities to blood transfusion in patients, blood group specific A-substance was detected in the urine, saliva and gastric contents of subjects belonging to the type A blood group. The first successful isolation of this hereditary agglutinogen, however, was made from horse saliva. From 1 liter of this saliva (obtained by therapeutic salivation) Landsteiner2 isolated 5 mg. of a mucin-free, protein-free, coctostable substance which would specifically inhibit type A rabbit hemolysin and type A human isohemagglutinin. Chemical analyses