Immunological Investigations on Tropical Sprue in Porto Rico

Charles Weiss School of Tropical Medicine of the University of Porto Rico under the auspices of Columbia University, and the Presbyterian Hospital, San Juan, Porto Rico

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Francisco Landrón School of Tropical Medicine of the University of Porto Rico under the auspices of Columbia University, and the Presbyterian Hospital, San Juan, Porto Rico

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Summary

  1. 1. Specimens of whole blood from a series of 20 sprue patients were compared with specimens obtained from 20 miscellaneous hospital cases in their ability to inhibit the growth of various monilia. (Technique of Bull and Tao). No evidence of a specific monilicidal activity of the blood in sprue patients was found.
  2. 2. Exotoxins, together with the corresponding Michel vaccines (killed, autolyzed suspensions) were prepared from M. psilosis, M. albicans and a cryptococcus from cutaneous blastomycosis and used in skin tests on a series of 22 undoubted cases of sprue and 26 patients suffering with various medical and surgical disorders. While a majority of sprue cases gave positive reactions to the exotoxins of M. psilosis, a still larger percentage of the same series also reacted to the toxins of M. albicans and of a cryptococcus of cutaneous blastomycosis. In the controls (non-sprue patients) about one-third reacted to all three toxins. The tests with vaccines gave similar results.
  3. 3. Attempts to transmit sprue to three human subjects and to three ring-tailed monkeys (M. rhesus) by rubbing into their tongues the scrapings obtained from the inflamed tongue of a cachectic sprue patient were unsuccessful. Other attempts at producing the disease by injecting monilia into the skin of human volunteers and into the tongue and peritoneum of monkeys, were similarly negative.

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