We detected subtle differences between the phagocytic activity of cells from pyridoxine-deficient and normal guinea-pigs by means of a suitable combination of parameters at two different cell-to-bacterium ratios. This difference was modest in amount, but statistically highly significant. The best parameter for discrimination was the average number of ingested bacteria per cell and the best indicator cell was the polymorphonuclear leucocyte.

Increasing the load of bacteria increased the difference in phagocytic activity between pyridoxine-deficient and control animals. These results could be achieved only by increasing the accuracy of estimates of the cell-to-bacterium ratio ten-fold above those obtained by conventional counting methods, and by eliminating the variability due to conducting experiments on different days with different bacterial suspensions.


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