The theory that culture products of type-12 group A β-haemolytic streptococci may enzymically render IgG autoimmunogenic was investigated with reference to the production of an autologous immune-complex disease in rabbits.

Six groups of 15 animals were used. Autologous serum that had been incubated with a culture of the test streptococcus was centrifuged and freed from bacteria by filtration and then reintroduced into the donor animals in group I. Purified autologous IgG was similarly treated with streptococcal culture and the bacteriafree material was reintroduced into the donor animals in group II. Control animals in groups III and IV were treated similarly to those in groups I and II, except that streptococci were not included in the incubation step. Animals in groups V and VI received untreated autologous serum and untreated autologous IgG respectively.

Fifty per cent, of the animals in groups I and II developed haematuria and proteinuria, and showed glomerular lesions with deposition of host IgG and βC on the basement-membranes; no streptococcal antigens could be detected in the kidney. Cultures of the injected preparations yielded no streptococci and results of blood culture and antistreptolysin O determinations were negative for all of the animals. The control animals in groups III-VI showed no abnormalities.

The results of this study support the hypothesis that streptococcal modification of IgG may be related to the development of immune-deposit disease.


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