Immediate Immunologic Reactions: Noncytolytic Mediator Release and Cytolytic Cell Destruction

  • Edward J. Goetzl
  • Shaun Ruddy
  • Daniel J. Stechschulte
  • K. Frank Austen


Two of the principal mechanisms by which immunologic reactions generate chemical mediators of the inflammatory response differ both in their mode of interaction with target cell membranes and in their ultimate effect on these membranes. In the cytolytic reaction [Fig. 1(A)] antibodies of certain immunoglobulin classes (IgM or IgG) bind to the target cell via combining sites specific for antigens which are either intrinsic to the cell membrane or have become passively bound to it. A resultant configurational change in the Fc portion of the antibody (Ashman and Metzger, 1971) is associated with the initiation of a sequence of reactions among certain serum proteins, the components of complement,* contained in the surrounding milieu. The physicochemical characteristics and mechanism of interaction of the nine components have recently been reviewed (Muller-Eberhard, 1968; Ruddy, et al., 1972). Chemical mediators of inflammation are generated during the complement reaction sequence per se, by the limited proteolysis of the components. These mediators represent both major (e.g., C3b, an enhancer of opsonization) and minor (e.g., C3a, an anaphylatoxin) fragments of component cleavage as well as complexes (e.g., C567, a chemotactic principle) formed by the interaction of products from different components. If completion of the reaction sequence occurs on a cell membrane, cytolytic destruction of the cell results which in some instances, may eventuate in mediator release.


Mediator Release Hereditary Angioedema Fractional Catabolic Rate Research Career Development Award Lung Fragment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward J. Goetzl
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Shaun Ruddy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel J. Stechschulte
    • 1
    • 2
  • K. Frank Austen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MedicineHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Robert B. Brigham HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Howard Hughes Medical InstituteUSA

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