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April 25, 1931


Author Affiliations

From the Sarah Morris Hospital for Children of the Michael Reese Hospital.

JAMA. 1931;96(17):1373-1376. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02720430023007

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In 1903, Arthus1 described a condition occurring in rabbits injected at successive weekly intervals with horse serum which has since been known as the Arthus phenomenon. He found that a single injection of horse serum in the rabbit did not produce injury, early or late, whether the injection was given subcutaneously, intraperitoneally or intravenously. Under these conditions, the horse serum is not toxic to the rabbit. If the injection is repeated at intervals of several days, a characteristic succession of changes are produced, following even a small dose. Under these conditions, the horse serum has acquired a toxicity for the rabbit. Arthus states that in the simplest form the experiment consists of subcutaneous injections of 5 cc. of horse serum at six day intervals. After the third injection, a local reaction is produced, becoming more intense with each injection and varying from a slight infiltration persisting two or three

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