The retention of antigen in rabbit liver tissue, resulting from a primary intravenous injection, is influenced by immunization brought about by subsequent intravenous injections of the same antigen. In rabbits given a single primary intravenous injection of radioactive antigen, the retention of radioactivity in liver tissue, after a period of 21 days, was greater than when the primary injection was followed by secondary injections of the same, but non-radioactive antigen. The results were similar for both S35-azohemocyanin and S35-azo-bovine-serum-albumin, except the hemocyanin was retained to a greater extent than the albumin.
There was very little if any correlation between the number of secondary injections and retention of the initial injection. Quantitative antibody nitrogen data, obtained for the serum of each rabbit showed, in general, an inverse relationship between circulating antibody and radioactivity retained, i.e. the higher the circulating antibody titer, the lower the retention of radioactivity in liver tissue.
Passively administered homologous antibody did not produce a change in the retention of the primary injection of antigen nor did secondary injections of a heterologous native protein injected according to the same immunization schedule as the homologous azoprotein. From these results it may be concluded that an intracellular antibody-forming activity influences the loss (or retention) of antigen deposited in liver tissue and that the mechanism is immunologically specific.