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November 24, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(13):1271-1272. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970300071041

NONSPECIFIC DEFENSE MECHANISMS OF THE BODY  Current interest in the study of natural resistance to infection found expression at a conference of the New York Academy of Sciences, Section of Biology, in New York. The mechanisms of "general resistance" are being unraveled gradually. There are several independent defense systems by which the body guards against invading bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Some of these mechanisms have been defined recently.

The Properdin System.—  The recognized components of the properdin system are properdin, complement, and magnesium ions.1 According to its discoverer, L. Pillemer,2 Western Reserve University, Cleveland, properdin is a euglobulin that contains lipid, carbohydrate, and phosphorus. It is normally always present in the serum of man and mammals without previous antigenic stimulation. Serum from rats reared under sterile conditions contains a normal amount of properdin. Properdin is not an antibody. Its action is nonspecific. To become active, properdin requires complement

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