Letter | Published:

Effect of Added Vitamins on the Phagocytic Activity of the Reticulo-Endothelial System of Mice

Naturevolume 191pages8283 (1961) | Download Citation



WE have reported that œstrogens stimulate the reticulo-endothelial system in the spleen, liver and lymph nodes and lead to mobilization of the phagocytes into the blood stream and thus probably to an increase of the general defence of the body against infection1. We have also shown that antibiotics2 and sulphonamides3 have little effect on the phagocytes; but cortisone depresses the reticulo-endothelial system and also reduces the concentration of gamma-globulin in the serum to about half the normal level4. Unpublished research in this laboratory also shows that when the reticulo-endothelial system is stimulated with, for example, diethylstilbœstrol, the serum gamma-globulin is increased to about twice the normal level, and the formation of antibody is increased about eight times. Groups of mice and guinea pigs may be protected by this means against challenge with a number of lethal doses of virulent bacteria. Further unpublished results show that, when animals are given a diet free from vitamin A, the reticulo-endothelial system becomes greatly depressed and when normal diet (Oxo mouse and rat diet) is resumed the phagocytic index returns to normal in about thirteen days.

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    Nicol, T., and Sewell, I. A., Nature, 184, 1241 (1959).

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    Nicol, T., Snell, R. S., and Bilbey, D. L. J., Brit. Med. J., ii, 800 (1956).

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    Spector, W. S., Handbook of Biological Data, 1, 197 (W. B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, 1956).

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  1. Department of Anatomy, King's College, London, W.C.2

    •  & T. NICOL


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