The reaction of embryonic chick heart cells grown in tissue culture to specific guinea pig antiserum has been studied with electron microscopy. Heart fragments from chick embryos were cultured with a plasma clot. After being tested with antiserum or normal serum, they were fixed with buffered osmium tetroxide and embedded in butyl methacrylate before removal from the glass culture chamber. Thin cells found by phase microscopy to have reacted were sectioned in a plane parallel to the glass surface on which they had grown. The results confirm and extend observations made previously while the reactions were occurring. The plasma membrane, like that of the red cell, becomes disrupted or less resistant to trauma following the action of antiserum. The membranes of mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum vesiculate and swell. Before nuclear shrinkage becomes prominent, the outer nuclear membrane separates over a large portion of the nuclear envelope and forms one or more large swollen blebs. Thus, the outer nuclear membrane shows a reactivity similar to endoplasmic reticulum. It is suggested that the various physical and chemical changes observed to follow the action of antibody and complement on fibroblasts may be explained by osmotic pressure differences between various cell components. Some basic similarities to the action of hemolytic agents on red cells are noted.

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