The effect of human serum on was studied with serumsensitive and serum-resistant strains. The bactericidal effect of human serum on serumsensitive strains of depended on the activation of the classical complement pathway. The role of activation of the alternative pathway was less important. After incubation in sub-bactericidal concentrations of serum these strains were also easily phagocytosed by polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL). Strains of of certain O-types required not only an intact classical pathway but also the presence of specific antibodies for effective killing by serum and effective phagocytosis by PMNL, despite rapid activation of complement and rapid deposition of C3 on the bacterial surface in the absence of antibody. Capsulate strains O1K1 and O78K80 resisted the bactericidal effect of serum even in the presence of specific antibodies; phagocytosis by PMNL only occurred after opsonisation with specific antibodies.


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