By G. J. V. Nossal

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The importance of this finding is that it documents a functional marker which clearly dis­ tinguishes between members of two cell lines which sometimes have embarrassingly similar morphological characteristics. 32 3. Antibodies and the Afferent Limb B . OPSONIZATION It is often considered that a general property of antibodies is to promote phagocytosis of antigen by macrophages (opsonization) though there does not appear to be a complete documentation of this property. In fact, it is now clear that cytophilic antibodies in mice are macroglobulins (Parish, 1965; Nelson and Mildenhall, 1967; Nelson et al, 1967) whereas opsonizing antibodies are IgG (Tizard, 1969).

Complement fixation was a property of the I g G a antibodies. The two immunoglobulins differed in their F c fragments and this agreed with earlier observations that the F c fragments of 7 S antibodies contained complement fixing and passive anaphylactic sensitizing activities (Ovary and Karush, 1961). Using a system devised by Boy den (1964) in which erythrocytes as antigen were allowed to react with macrophages, Berken and Benacerraf (1966) showed that rabbit and mouse antisera to sheep erythrocytes also contained cytophilic antibodies and that cross-sensitization could occur.

The second type comprises those antigens which are rapidly phagocytosed so that after intravenous injection, they have a short half-life in the circulation. Examples of these are the flagellar antigens, polypeptides composed of D-amino acids, and many of the high molecular weight or particulate antigens. After injection of a substance of the former type, there are three phases of antigen clearance and these are best observed after intravenous injection—an initial equilibration phase, a period of slow elimination due to catabolism of the free antigen, and a period of more rapid loss when specific antibody is formed as a result of the antigen injection.

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