Comparison of Two Methods to Evaluate the Function of the Reticuloendothelial System
Luecke, Gail A.
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The most widely used measure of the function of the reticuloendothelial system (RES) has been the carbon clearance test. Colloidal carbon is injected into the bloodstream and its disappearance measured spectrophotometrically. However, the rate of carbon clearance is affected by factors other than the phagocytic activity of the RES and therefore may not be a valid measure of RES function. The objective of this study was to compare the clearance from the blood of mice of colloidal carbon and the bacteriophage 0X-174. We postulated that the clearance from the blood of particles smaller than carbon, such as 0X-174, may be affected less by secondary factors. N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanyl-D-isoglutamine (MDP) is a bacterial cell wall component that has a stimulating effect on carbon clearance. By examining the effect of MDP on the two test systems, one might also learn more about the mechanisms of clearance in the two systems and the relative value of the systems as indicators of the state of the RES. Our experiments demonstrated that the clearance of 0X-174, like the clearance of colloidal carbon, is dependent on factors other than the activity of the RES and is therefore also not an adequate RES function test.