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Sept 1962

Siderocalciphylactic Sensitization to Distilled Water

Author Affiliations


Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, University of Montreal (Dr. Selye, Professor and Director).

Arch Intern Med. 1962;110(3):290-294. doi:10.1001/archinte.1962.03620210014004

Calciphylaxis is a condition of induced systemic hypersensitivity in which, during a "critical period" after sensitization by a systemic calcifying factor (e.g., vitamin-D compounds, parathyroid hormone), treatment with certain challengers (e.g., metallic salts, albumen) causes an acute local calcification followed by inflammation and sclerosis. The term was coined in analogy with such designations as "anaphylaxis" or "tachyphylaxis" that likewise refer to induced systemic alterations in the body's responsiveness to certain challenging agents. Apparently calciphylaxis is a fundamentally adaptive (phylactic) response that leads to defensive inflammation and sclerosis through the selective deposition of calcium in the challenged area. However, like many other basically defensive reactions (e.g., serologic immunity), it can also become the cause of morbid lesions.1

Topical calciphylaxis induced by the subcutaneous injection of challengers results in a cutaneous calcinosis reminiscent of calcareous scleroderma. Indeed, by the intravenous administration of challengers that have a particular affinity for one or

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