In the past a considerable amount of attention has been paid by serological workers to the complex characters of serum-complement and many attempts have been made to subject complement to more detailed biochemical analysis. Valuable information has thus been obtained regarding the biological action and properties of this important element of animal serum.
The study of complement has been principally based on its cytolytic effects towards red blood corpuscles sensitised with the homologous immune body, and the general tendency of research on this subject has been to elicit the complexity of constitution of complement and the numerous factors on which its action depends.
The fresh serum of the guinea-pig represents with ox corpuscles + rabbit versus ox immune body or cobra venom, one of the most active complements and it has therefore been commonly used for studies on complement action.
Attention was first drawn by Stephens (1) to the hemolytic effect of certain snake venoms along with fresh serum.