SUMMARY: Erythrocytes from various species of animals were tanned by exposure to 1/20,000 tannic acid for 10 min. at 37°, and were used in various haem-agglutination systems together with untreated red cells as control. The titre of fresh human anti-AB serum was decreased from 4- to 64-fold when tested with tanned homologous red cells, while no decrease of titre was observed in commercially prepared sera of the same group under identical experimental conditions. The titre of anti-sheep red cell serum was not appreciably affected when tested with tanned sheep red cells, but there was a 2- to 4-fold increase in the agglutinin titres of myxoviruses (influenza, mumps) tested with tanned chick or sheep red cells. The haem-agglutinin titres of West Nile and Sindbis viruses were not changed when tanned goose red cells were used instead of untreated red cells in haem-agglutination tests. Human, guinea pig and fowl red cells did not become agglutinable by West Nile and Sindbis viruses after treatment with tannic acid. West Nile and Sindbis viruses agglutinated sheep red cells to low titres. These titres were twice as high when tanned red cells were used instead of untreated cells. There was a sharp drop in the titres of anti-human cell sera when tested with tanned human group O red cells. It is suggested that tannic acid may act on certain species of red cell to increase or decrease their agglutinability in the presence of immune serum.


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