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October 29, 1898


JAMA. 1898;XXXI(18):1060-1062. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02450180054007

Tetanus has always been regarded as a nervous disease, but it is only since the discovery of the tetanus toxin that one could say precisely that the disease is due to a poisoning of certain nervous cells. The affinity between nervous cells and tetanic toxin is shown very well in the following experiment of Knorr, inspired by Wassermann and Takaki.1 The cerebral substance of a guinea-pig is emulsified and mixed with tetanus toxin, and this mixture is then centrifugalized. Two layers form: at the bottom, the nervous matter; above this an opaque fluid. In well-made mixtures it will be found that the fluid thus separated does not contain any poison, which has been fixed to the nervous tissue after the manner of a coloring matter. This tangible reaction which occurs in the test-tube also occurs in the organism. The tetanus toxin injected subcutaneously in an extremity of a guinea-pig