In the course of some titrations of luetic serums by means of the Wassermann reaction, it was noticed that normal extracts in certain dilutions ceased to fix complement in dilutions of the serum in which extracts from syphilitic tissues gave definite fixation. This observation stimulated us to study more carefully the part played by normal and luetic tissues in the Wassermann reaction, with the hope of throwing some additional light on the much-debated question of specificity.
When the test was first published by Wassermann, Neisser and Bruck, the antigen was thought by these investigators to represent the syphilitic virus, and the reaction that occurred as one between mutually specific bodies, i. e., between antigen and antibody, the resulting combination having the power to fix the complement. The Wassermann reaction was thought to be analogous to the complement fixation test in other infectious diseases, notably tuberculosis, typhoid and gonorrhea. In these
KEIDEL A, HURWITZ SH. A COMPARISON OF NORMAL AND SYPHILITIC EXTRACTS BY MEANS OF THE WASSERMANN AND EPIPHANIN REACTIONS. JAMA. 1912;LIX(14):1257–1262. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270100027009
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