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November 1962

Papain, Vitamin A, Lysosomes, and Endotoxin: An Essay on Useful Irrelevancies in the Study of Tissue Damage

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, New York University-Bellevue Medical Center, and the Third and Fourth (NYU) Medical Divisions, Bellevue Hospital.

Arch Intern Med. 1962;110(5):782-786. doi:10.1001/archinte.1962.03620230228031

I should say, at the outset, that this paper, with its rather tedious and—now that I think of it—essentially stuffy title, is not intended to clear up the matter of the inflammatory reaction. Indeed, I shall not even make a definition of inflammation, a term I have never really understood. I will not undertake to solve the Shwartzman reaction, even though this problem, like King Charles' head, has been stuck in my mind for over 15 years. These are, in my view, inviolable secrets of nature, designed by Providence to keep experimental pathologists contentedly engaged for whole lifetimes, and not to be solved. They are, in their way, assurances of long-range laboratory activity which are equivalent to Oliver Wendell Holmes' prescription for longevity: to have a chronic incurable disease and take good care of it.

I hope, instead, to illustrate some of the ways in which biological systems, especially those

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