After injection of ovalbumin as a water-in-oil emulsion a pronounced adjuvant effect is demonstrable following the incorporation of tubercle bacillary wax into the oily phase of the mixture. With single doses of antigen (10 mg. ovalbumin) there is a 4- to 5-fold increase in the amount of antibody at the median of 3 week serum levels in animals receiving a small dose of wax (40 µg.). With a 5 mg. dose of wax there is an 8-fold increase in serum antibody levels at the median.
A striking feature of the action of wax is the stimulation of a macrophage proliferation locally at the site of injection, and the production of morphological abnormalities in these cells. As judged by staining techniques for antibody content, these locally assembled cells are not active in the formation of antibody. Wax injected in mineral oil results in a remarkable systematized stimulation of the reticulo-endothelial system.
The greatly increased serum antibody levels demonstrated after the use of tubercle bacillary wax in antigen mixtures is attributed to a widespread proliferation of plasma cell elements in the lymphatic glands, spleen and liver.