Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Feb 2019
The first agglutination experiments (Tables 1 and 2) showed that the serum obtained with any one strain of Leishmania, agglutinates all the others even of another species. This finding reveals the existence of a common antigen. However as the titre of agglutination did not permit a sharp differentiation of species we tried the adsorption method. The first adsorption tests made demonstrated differences in antigenic constitution between a strain of. L. donovani on one hand and strains of L. tropica or L. brasiliensis on the other. Further experiments in which L. chagasi was tested against the other species revealed that the former was antigenically different from the others. These tests were performed by adsorbing an anti-chagasi serum with organisms belonging to the other species or, conversely, adsorbing with L. chagasi sera prepared against the other species (See Tables 9 to 24). On the other hand, the adsorption of a serum prepared against one strain of l. chagasi by another of the same species showed that they had identifical antigenie constitution. These findings suggested the possibility of separating different species of Leishmania by this method. However, tests to separate the other species from one to another gave inconclusive results. (See Tables 27 to 35). It was soon observed that all the strains of L. chagasi were of recent isolation while all the others had been maintained in artificial culture media for a long time. We were led to believe that this condition was responsible for the differences in behaviour encountered. Accordingly, recently isolated strains of L. brasiliensis and L. donovani were tested and shown to be antigenically similar to strains of L. chagasi also recently isolated. The conclusion may be drawn that all strains have the same antigenic constitution when freshly isolated. It has been noted that when a serum which has been prepared against a freshly isolated is adsorbed with an old strain, the amount of agglutinins left free, is much smaller than when a serum prepared against an old strain is adsorbed with a newly isolated strain. At first, we thought to explain this by the low titre of the serum. However, the amount of agglutinins left free was not larger when higher titre serum was tested. The results do not corroborate the view of a special antigen being present in recently isolated strains (vi antige) but rather that the phenomenon is dependent on differences of the amount of the common antigen, more abundant in recent strains. In order to make this clear, experiments were made in which equal amounts of a serum prepared against a newly isolated strain were adsorbed by equal amounts, by weight, of, on one hand, a new strain, and the other an old strain. The resulting adsorbed sera were then titrated. (Table 44). Results showed that newly isolated strains adsorb a larger amount of agglutinins (Tables 44, 45). Two hypothesis have bem advanced to explain the stronger adsorbing qualities of the newly isolated strains. 1° - these strains possess larger amounts of the common antigen and 2° - they contain a vi antigen which adsorbed by the new strain together with the common antigen is the cause of their larger adsorbing capacity. To find out which of the two hypothesis corresponds to the reality a new experiment was made, similar to the one summarized in table 44. The adsorbed sera were made to act on a recently isolated strain as well as on an old one. The latter, not containing the vi antigen, the difference seen when sera act on new strains should not be observed here in the case of this antigen being responsible for the differences in adsorbing properties. The difference persisting, the indication would be that the greater adsorbing capacity of recently isolated strains was really related to larger amounts of the common antigen present (Tables 46 and 47). The results of the experiment excluded the possibility of the vi antigen being responsible. Other experiments, (Tables 48 to 53) using a 3 year old strain, demonstrated the modification in its antigenic constitution during the period it was maintained in cultures.
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A. M. da Cunha. A soro-aglutinação das Leishmanias, Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, 35-76, DOI: 10.1590/S0074-02761942000100005