Chemical Aspects of the Serum Anaphylatoxins

  • Tony E. Hugli
Part of the Contemporary Topics in Molecular Immunology book series (CTI)


Anaphylaxis is a term originally applied by Portier and Richet (1902) to describe the adverse systemic reaction (hypersensitivity) of dogs injected repeatedly with extracts from sea anemones and mussels. The word anaphylaxis is derived from Greek words meaning “without protection.” Although the hypersensitive condition induced by repeatedly injecting an antigen may appear to reflect some deficiency in the animal’s humoral protective system, we now know that this response occurs as a result of an enhancement or stimulation of the antibody response. Interactions among antigen, antigen-specific antibodies, (IgG or IgE) and target-tissue or circulating cells (mast cells, leukocytes, and basophils) cause an active release of potent mediators (i.e., histamine, serotonin, slowreacting substances, and kininases), which in turn manifest potent pharmacological effects that may produce a lethal systemic condition known as anaphylactic shock. Obviously, the mechanisms that induce anaphylaxis do not involve complement. However, when complement is activated in the sera of certain experimental animals, symptoms appear that are essentially identical to those produced by antigenic challenge in actively sensitized animals. It was the expression of such symptoms that led Friedberger (1910) in 1910 to label the active substance generated in complement-activated guinea pig serum an anaphylatoxin.


Mast Cell Circular Dichroism Spectrum Chemical Aspect Arginyl Residue Lethal Shock 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony E. Hugli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular ImmunologyResearch Institute of Scripps ClinicLa JollaUSA

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