It was almost a century ago that the ability of fresh serum to destroy certain bacteria was noted. This bactericidal capacity was soon resolved into a heat-stable substance, bactericidin, bacteriolysin, or, in modern terms, specific antibody, and a heat-labile substance called alexin by Büchner and complement by Bordet. At the turn of this century, Ehrlich and Morgenroth found similar requirements for the immune lysis of sheep red cells. Since the release of hemoglobin could be quantitated, the sheep cell (E), amboceptor or antibody (A), and complement (C) model system provided a powerful tool for the further study of complement and its actions. It was rapidly established that antibody could combine with the sheep cell in the absence of complement but complement could not exert its lytic action in the absence of antibody.


Complement System Hemolytic Activity Complement Component Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria Complement Protein 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Company Ltd 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chester A. Alper
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Blood ResearchBostonUSA

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