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February 20, 1943


JAMA. 1943;121(8):594-595. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840080042010

For fifty years it has seemed logical to immunologists to assume that specific antibodies are formed as internal secretions by certain fixed tissues. Attempts to determine the essential immunologic endocrines, however, were unsuccessful. Hektoen and his co-workers1 found that removal of the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, thyroid, spleen and other organs whose surgical removal is compatible with life does not materially reduce the power of the remaining tissues to produce specific opsonins and agglutinins. From this failure they concluded that the antibody producing tissues must be widely distributed throughout all organs, and they directed attention particularly to the capillary endotheliums as the most probable tissue. Support was given to this theory by physical or chemical reticuloendothelial blockade, both stimulation of specific precipitin production2 and almost complete suppression of production3 being reported as a result of minimal or maximal blockade with such agents as india ink, carmine particles