Soluble antigen-antibody-complement complexes bound to mouse B lymphocytes are rapidly released from the cell membrane in the presence of normal serum from several mammalian species. The release is not the result of antigen-antibody dissociation or extensive degradation of the complexes. However, the released complexes have been altered because they will no longer bind to fresh lymphocytes. The release is not the result of lymphocyte damage mediated by complement. It is complement-dependent, and is generated either preferentially or exclusively via the alternate pathway, since it occurs in C4-deficient serum, is Mg++ but not Ca++ dependent, and requires C3 proactivator. C3 inactivator is not involved. The release activity of the serum, once generated, is unstable at 37°C. The release of complexes from the lymphocyte membrane by serum provides a convenient assay for the functioning of the alternate pathway in the mouse and in other species.

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