Human subjects were injected intradermally with their own erythrocytes sensitized with old tuberculin or Escherichia coli endotoxin. Erythrocytes sensitized with tuberculin induced a delayed inflammatory response in tuberculinpositive subjects but no inflammatory reaction in tuberculin-negative ones. Erythrocytes sensitized to endotoxin induced an immediate 5-hr inflammatory reaction with a delayed component in all subjects. Unsensitized cells remained at the site of injection, but cells sensitizied to OT or suspended in OT were removed by the delayed reaction in tuberculin-positive subjects. Endotoxin-sensitized cells or cells suspended in endotoxin also remained at the site of injection despite the immediate reaction in all subjects.

These results indicate: a) that antigens adsorbed in blood cells elicit the same reaction as the unabsorbed antigen in vivo; and b) that the intradermal injection of sensitized erythrocytes is a useful technique for distinguishing between the behavior of different types of bacterial antigens, as illustrated in the present study by the differences between the reaction to tuberculinsensitized and endotoxin-sensitized erythrocytes.


This work was supported by the Research and Development Division, Office of the Surgeon General, Department of the Army, under Contract DA-49-007-MD-872.

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